Charities are a booming industry. In 2012, the National Center for Charitable Statistics recognized some 1.5 million tax exempt organizations, to include over 1 million public charities with combined revenue of $1.65 trillion. Each year people donate money, and each year another scandal is created over a charity which does not live up to people’s expectation. So, what can you do to make sure that your hard earned money goes to the right cause? As it turns out – quite a bit.
A charity is an organization which meets specific criteria for official recognition in the U.S. It is designated as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization by the IRS. They must be run in such a way that they are not operated for the benefit of a key shareholder or owner, and are limited on specific actions such as lobbying. Besides this, a charity can benefit nearly anything under the sun as the expression goes. From bird rescues to soup kitchens, charities are designed to aid and assist through the mutual giving of time, service, money, or product.
Each year service members take part in the charity campaigns that provide opportunities to donate. Some organizations pressure service members to donate, an act which is illegal in nature. For the most part, people are provided with options and can donate as much or as little as they desire to the associated charities.
It is therefore important to understand how one can look deeper into the charitable world and recognize the difference between quality charities and scams. First and foremost, a charity seeks to meet its intent for improving something. It does not necessarily meet the intent of the people who donate. An organization for the ethical treatment of animals may in fact spend money to euthanize the animals in order to prevent them from becoming feral and homeless. So, look at the organization, their history, and their actions to ensure they are aligned with the donor’s wishes.
There are many rating organizations which assess charities. Guidestar, Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau, and many others provide quantitative and qualitative feedback on charities. They assess the amount received, amount donated, impact of donations, reviews, and compensation for employees. This helps to provide perspective and background into an organization, and should not be confused with endorsing the charity.
Donors should feel comfortable and confident in their ability to ask questions. It is your money that is being donated; you earned it, so make sure it is going towards an organization and a cause that actually means something to you. Some charities also have different funds that can be donated towards. For example, a donor could give money to a charity that runs homeless shelters with the stipulation that it be used to purchase new beds.
When in doubt, consider donating time or volunteering to the organization as an alternative to financial donations. This allows you 100% control of the process and helps to ensure that you leave a lasting impression on the cause by making the world around you better.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.