On Your Side: How to check a charity

Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 5:49 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -It’s that time of the year when we are asked to give.

Make sure you know how much of your donation, goes to the cause.

Here’s how to check a charity.

Use Charity Navigator. Plug the charity’s name into the search bar and see how the charity spends your donation.

“I think it’s an important element of building trust with the organization. You want to know the organization is actually doing what they’re saying they’re doing,” said Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator.

Charity Navigator uses tax documents to asses things like program expenses, administrative expenses, and fundraising expenses.

The Better Business Bureau offers the Wise Giving Alliance.

Review the charity’s own website for information about its mission, a list of the board of directors, and its latest financial reports.

“If the charity site doesn’t list its financial details online, the organization is not very transparent, which could be a red flag,” said Margot Gillman, with Consumer Reports.

Watch for fees. Online giving platforms and crowdfunding websites are popular, but they often charge payment processing fees, perhaps 3-percent or more -- that’s money that isn’t going to charity. Instead, consider giving the old fashioned way with cash or a check.

If you can’t give money, give your time. A great resource for that is Volunteer Ozarks.

For more ways to check a charity and hear the the full conversation with Charity Navigator’s Michael Thatcher, listen to The Rest of On Your Side podcast.

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