Despite a slowly rebounding economy, Americans continue to give. With the holidays just past, no doubt many shoppers dropped coins and cash into the familiar red kettles or gave an above-and-beyond year-end gift to a favorite nonprofit before December 31. The question is, how far did their dollars stretch?
“Increasingly donors want to know their charitable investments are smart choices. They are more apt to do online research before they give,” says Sandra Miniutti, CFO and Marketing Vice President at Charity Navigator. “Donors are proactive and do not want to settle when looking for a charity to support.”
How will you make a difference in a world full of need? How can you make sure your giving has a real impact? If you want to make sure your dollars are well spent, we’ve got some simple steps for you to follow to ensure you get (and give) the most benefit from your buck.
1. Don't Underestimate Charity Ratings
There are more than a million nonprofits registered with the Internal Revenue Service spanning a myriad of health, environmental, humanitarian, arts, education, and social services, so donors have their work cut out deciding where to give and assessing their gift’s impact.
Before you write that check, investigate your nonprofit. You can start your research with groups like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). These organizations give 4-star ratings or their seal of approval based on effectiveness in areas such as governance, percentage of funds that go directly to programs, financial health and accountability, and transparency.