Be Cautious With Your Charitable Giving Part II

With all the fake charities and immoral fundraisers out there, charitable giving can be a financial minefield

Before you commit to charitable giving, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into. As I outlined in Part I of this article, the charity industry (and an industry it is) is riddled with immorality and outright fraud. So how do you sort the worthy charities from the illicit chaff?

Check their bonafides

There are certain charities we all know and more or less trust: the Red Cross, the United Way, the March of Dimes. But what about lesser-known charities, like the New Jersey Orphan’s Society of the St. Dismas Home for Wayward Dogs?

You can always look them up on the Internet, but it’s better if you ask them these questions, and get the answers *in writing.*

• Are you an employee of the charity, a volunteer, or a professional fundraiser?
• Where is my donation going, and what will it be used for?
• How much of my donation will go to charitable use?
• How much will be used for administrative purposes?

Okay, so now what?

The above questions are simple enough, and fair of you to ask; it’s your money, after all. Yes, this will slow down the process of giving to a charity somewhat, but if it’s a legitimate charity, they probably won’t mind. If they do mind, or you don’t like the answers, just tell them no.

Even if it’s a real charity, you may discover, as I mentioned in Part I, that most of the donation is skimmed off by a professional fundraising organization, or that the ratio of administrative costs to charitable expenditures is simply too high to bother with.

But it sounds so important…

If you tell them no, you need to be firm about your denial, in the face of what may be repeated attempts by phone or mail to change your mind. Immoral or fake charities often use emotional appeals to ask for your money, often by citing international emergencies or patriotism.

They may also claim a link to needy fire, police, or EMS organizations, and make you seem like a heel for turning them down. Well, folks, that’s a pressure tactic; and if the fundraiser keeps trying these tactics, blow them off for sure.

I do want to give, though.

If you’re still concerned about the issues they bring up, the solution is simple. Do a little research, and send your donation directly to the charity, whatever it may be: earthquake fund, the Children’s Miracle Network, the RNC, or your local fire department. That’ll insure they’ll get the full amount of the donation.

Charitable giving should go to the people it’s aimed toward–and it shouldn’t be the result of emotional blackmail.