On Your Side: How to check a charity

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 3:58 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Giving Tuesday is when you’re asked to give back and donate to your favorite causes. Do your homework before you open your wallet. It just takes a few seconds to check a charity.

Make sure it’s real and legit. Use websites like the Better Business Bureau’s Give dot org or Charity Navigator.

Both websites break down tax records so you can see exactly where your money goes. Plug the charity’s name into the search bar and see how the charity spends your money.

“You want to make sure it’s being used efficiently and effectively,” said Kevin Scally with Charity Navigator. “So you want to support an organization that has good governance practices, is financially healthy, and will be around for years to come. If you are donating, think of that as an investment in their future and the activity they are going to deliver on.”

Charity Navigator uses tax documents to assess things like program expenses, administrative expenses, and fundraising expenses. Also there, you can review salaries and compare those to the overall budget. Good charities devote 70 percent or more of their operating budget to the cause.

Do not feel pressured if you get a phone call or text solicitation. Pause. Ask questions.

“You want to make sure whoever is on the other side is who they say they are. So a common way to do that is to ask for their EIN, Employment Identification Number. This is a tax ID that the IRS has provided,” said Scally.

You’ll see links to fundraisers and crowdfunding websites in your newsfeeds, especially on Facebook and Instagram. Remember, there’s usually a processing fee, perhaps three percent or more. Be aware, that’s money that is not going to the charity. If you still decide to give through a social media platform, be sure you know and trust the person collecting the donations.

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

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com