How To Decide Which Charities To Support

With the recent earthquakein Haiti, many people are researching how to donate to a charitable organization to help support the victims of that disaster. However, choosing a charity can actually be quite difficult, since there are many established organizations that are designed to support victims of natural disasters. That being said, how can you choose the right charity to donate to? What are some of the warning signs that a charity may be directly profiting from the donations it receives? Here are some general tips to help you when choosing which charity to support.

Tip 1 For Donating To Charity: Choose Your Cause
The first step towards deciding on a charity is to outline the specific cause that you want to support. Would you like to support the victims of the earthquake in Haiti? Are you looking to donate to the homeless shelters in a major city? Do you want your money to go towards buildings schools in Africa? Before choosing a charity, it’s best if you outline the situation that you are attempting to find aid for.

Tip 2 For Donating To Charity: Understand How Charities Work
A true charity will have a large percentage of each dollar donated going directly to aid their cause. Be wary of any charity that has a high overhead cost, or only has a small percentage of their donations actually used to help their cause. A truly non-profit organization will be fully devoted to helping their cause, not to making a profit off of donations.

Tip 3 For Donating To Charity: Don’t Donate By Phone
It’s best if you do not donate to a charity by way of “telemarketing” donation calls. In many cases, if you donate to one charity, you are put on a list of “prospective donators”. Many charities have access to this list, and may refer to it when looking for donations. Here is how to deal with charities that ask for donations over the phone:

1. Be Polite.
Don’t ever hang up on a charity simply because they are asking you for money. Be patient, and listen to what they have to say.

2. Write Down the Information.
Politely ask the representative for information about their organization. This should include the location of their headquarters, their donation percentage, and the official name of their charity. With this information, you can do your own research about the charity, deciding for yourself if they are worthy of a donation. If you decide that you want to donate to their organization, it is much safer for you to do this by mail, or over the internet.

3. Politely Decline.
It’s best if you get straight to the point when dealing with a charity call. You may say something like, “I apologize, but I won’t be donating at this time.”. A reputable charity will most likely thank you for your time, and wish you good day. Once you have researched their organization, you may then decide to offer them a donation. However, if they continue to try to solicit money from you by phone, you may ask to be taken off of their call list.

Tip 4 For Donating To Charity: Research Your Charity
It’s best of you do a good amount of research before donating to a specific charity. Some charitable organizations are imitated by fraud companies, who don’t actually help contribute to a cause. Be sure that the charity that you are donating to has a good reputation, and (if possible) is one that friends or acquaintances have had prior experience with.