Finding Clarity in Charity
Disasters often rock our world and render us vulnerable with feelings that include helplessness and confusion. As we begin to process the bad news, our energies shift from thoughts of sadness and despair to action. Alas, the good side of humanity emerges. We begin to pay attention as pleas for help come out of the woodwork. Charitable organizations begin campaign drives. Printed media is deluged with ads and airtime and social media coverage is saturated with appeals for support. We want to help, but how? And who can we trust?
If we are paying attention, we commonly recognize that monetary donations are the most effective means of support, especially when infrastructures are shattered or resources are significantly diminished. As images of the scope of the disaster gets looped over and over again and the pleas are ratcheted up, we may react with a click of the mouse- DONATE NOW. Or we may take out our checkbooks and simply write a check. Sometimes we are so caught up in the moment, we just hand over cash at an intersection.
It’s especially at times like these when we need to pause and think with our heads first and hearts next. When we feel moved to give, that means its time to do our research to learn if, in fact, our hard earned dollars are going exactly where our kind heart intended them to go.
Listed here are nonprofit organizations that rate or collect and present accurate information in a neutral fashion about charitable organizations.
Charity Navigator: https://www.charitynavigator.org/ In their own words, this is how Charity Navigator’s analysts rate charities “… by evaluating two areas of performance: Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency. Our ratings show donors how efficiently we believe a charity will use their support today, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time, and their level of commitment to being accountable and transparent. We provide these ratings so that donors can make intelligent giving decisions, and so that the philanthropic community can more effectively monitor itself.”
Charity Watchhttps://www.charitywatch.org/charities Members can find detailed rating information and non-members are able to access this detailed information only for Top-Rated Charities.
https://www.guidestar.org/Home.aspx GuideStar is neither a charity evaluator nor a watchdog. What they are is a 501(c)(3) public charity that collects, organizes, and presents the information consumers want in an easy-to-understand format, while remaining neutral.
Follow your heart, but start with your head. Said another way, do your research so you’ll be sure your good intentions and your hard earned money are stewarded carefully and with integrity.