Giving to children’s charities is about as American as apple pie, baseball and hot dogs. Unfortunately, not every organization out there is reputable. Some only give a fraction of the money they raise to the causes they serve. Others don’t do anything they say they do at all. Still others, although reputable, don’t resonate with every potential donor on a personal level.
So, how can contributors determine the best children’s charities to give their personal money and support to and which ones to avoid? A lot comes down to individual choice. Still, to make sure as much of every dollar as possible gets to the children who need assistance, it does pay to vet charities before making a contribution.
There are certain things potential charitable contributors should consider and even do before they give to a children’s charity – or any charity for that matter. They include:
Avoid giving during heavily advertised campaigns – When charitable organizations ramp up to call homes for donations, a portion of the money given will offset the cost of the campaign. Experts in the field of charity giving, recommend seeking out organizations to give money to and then doing it outside of a set fundraising campaign.
Stick with groups that are personally known – While this isn’t always possible, it is best to restrict charitable contributions to groups whose efforts are known on a personal level. If donors know the organization and what it does, they are on the right track.
Stick with groups whose missions appeal – If a particular donor’s passion happens to lie in literacy, it makes sense to reach out to groups that focus on this topic. It can be very difficult to choose the right group to give money, time or in-kind contributions to. Narrowing the list is much easier when a personal passion is selected to guide a search for a reputable charity.
Look into the charity’s background – To make certain that personal charitable contributions make a difference; it is smart to vet the organization in question. Look into the group’s background, read its mission statement, see what it does and even look at its financials. The best charities are those who put the greatest amount of their donations into actual programs – not administrative costs.
Seek outside sources to vet charities – There are organizations that exist to check into the reputations of different charities. The American Institute of Philanthropy, for example, looks into different nonprofits’ backgrounds and spending habits to create a list of top rated charities.
Test the legitimacy of a charity – Do make sure a charitable organization is registered on the state or national level. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, has a list of all charities it recognizes. States, too, keep their own lists through a charity regulator. It is also a good idea to ask whether donations are tax deductible. While this might not impact a decision to give, it can impact taxes.
Consider volunteering – If there is a desire to help out while learning more about an organization, this is a great way to go. When potential donors volunteer, they get to see personally the impacts a nonprofit group has on the people it serves.
Helping children by supporting charitable organizations is an excellent way to have a big impact on the local, national and even international level. To make sure contributions make a difference, however, donors should take the time to carefully select the charities they support.
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