Charitable Donation Advice
Charitable Donation Advice is a recurring column here at Change Gangs. We work hard for our money, and we want it to work hard for the world, too! This week, I share some advice I gave a friend.
Is This A Good Charity?
I received an email from a friend asking me this question. Our area had been impacted by a large and damaging wildfire. Many people lost their homes, and it turns out that some of those people were underinsured or uninsured. That means they may not be able to rebuild their homes without help.
My friend, being a generous and caring person, was holding a fundraiser and was asking me about a charity he thought would receive their fundraising proceeds. He sent me their website, and after looking through it, I sent him the following reply.
You can use this thought process and these questions whenever you’re considering donating to a charity.
First, I can’t say if this is a good charity or not. What I can do is point out some things to take a look at and some questions to ask.
When I’m looking at a charity, I want to know if they’re going to make an impact on the problem they want to make an impact on. In this case, I think they want to help people who are uninsured and underinsured rebuild their home. Will they achieve that goal?
One thing to look at is past performance. They list the Spring 2011 Crystal Fire as a past project, but they don’t list any number or achievements for that project. So, I have no idea if it was successful in helping people rebuild. If it wasn’t successful, that’s not necessarily bad, but what have they learned and what will they do differently?
Another thing to look at is the leadership. If they don’t have past experience as an organization, does the leadership have experience? Are they competent, qualified, organized, etc.? The website doesn’t tell me much about their leaders.
Are they efficient with their donations? The website doesn’t give me any idea of how much they plan to collect, how much will be necessary for any particular project, how they will decide who to give money to, etc. What will they do to be accountable with the dollars they collect (i.e. reports, etc.)?
Personally, based on their website, I wouldn’t donate to this organization. I would suggest calling and speaking with at least one or two board members and ask some questions. If you like the answers you get, then go for it. If not, I’d keep searching for another charity to help.