The news from Nepal is astounding in its descriptions of the magnitude of death and destruction. Many people are donating to relief organizations, seeking to help out the victims of this tragedy. With a little attention, you can help make sure your donations are doing the most good.
In my presentations I talk about the importance of always doing the choosing, never letting yourself be chosen. This idea applies to charities as well. Remember to donate through organizations you know and trust, such as through your church, temple, or denominational umbrellla organization. An example of this would be through Lutheran World Relief (www.lwr.org).
If you’re not familiar with them, there are 3 great websites which rank charities for their practices and integrity. Take a look at www.charitynavigator.org, or www.guidestar.org. Also be sure to look at give.org, another terrific resource for checking out a charity through the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. Click here for a list of approved charities that meet all 20 BBB charity standards.
Watch out for groups that sound like a real charity, but their name may be slightly different. Check them out on one (or more) of the websites above. Remind the seniors in your life to never to give to charities they don’t know, and don’t give to phone solicitors claiming to be from a charity. Also watch out for email solicitations and dubious or unsecured websites (Secured websites have “https” at the beginning of their web address). Don’t believe it when a caller or a website says “100% of donations go to help the victims. All charities have administrative and fundraising costs, and ideally they are a very low percentage of their total contributions.
We Americans are a vastly generous people. Help your generosity make a real difference with a few simple ideas and steps. You’ll feel good about it, too.