On Your Side: How to check a charity

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 5:50 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Just in time for Giving Tuesday. It’s a day when you’re asked to give back and donate to your favorite causes.

Do your homework before you open your wallet.

Use a website like The Better Business Bureau’s or Charity Navigator.

Plug the charity’s name into the search bar and see how the charity spends your donation. You can see how much of your money goes to the actual cause.

“Do a little research,” said Michael Thatcher, with Charity Navigator. “Do a little digging so you’re able to make an actual difference.

The website uses tax documents to assess things like program expenses, administrative expenses, and fundraising expenses.

“We are putting together a snapshot that gives you a nice holistic picture of the organization. What do they do? Who do serve? How do they spend their money? How do they run their organization?” said Thatcher.

Good charities devote more of their operating budget to services -- the actual cause. Compared to other expenditures, like salaries and marketing costs. If you get a phone or text solicitation. Ask for their Employer Identification Number.

“If you plug that number in on our website and you come back with nothing, I would hang up the phone and don’t respond to the text. Move on. Chances are you’re getting scammed at that point,” said Thatcher.

In your newsfeeds, watch for fees. Online giving platforms, social media fundraisers and crowdfunding websites are popular. There’s usually a processing fee. Perhaps three percent or more. That’s money that is not going to charity.

Remember, you don’t have to give money to make a difference. Give your time. Here’s a great place to find volunteer opportunities.

Investigate TV recently interviewed Ashley Reynolds about the ways to check charities. You can watch that discussion here and learn more ways to vet non-profits.

To report a correction or typo, please email

Copyright 2021 KY3. All rights reserved.