Many years ago, raising money for anything was much easier than it is today! One of the reasons is that the “pie” that used to have just 12 slices, now has 12,000,000 slices. Everybody and everything is in the fundraising business, just out there to get what they can or working extremely hard to keep a real mission alive and thriving. Some causes are legal and legitimate, while others may be out there to just make a quick buck.
Unsuspecting donors, with a good heart, just trying to make a difference for a cause they believe in, may be totally caught off guard. There are so many organizations to choose from, doing great things on both the national and local level. Most often you donate to a cause because it’s something you truly believe in and feel that your money will aid in providing a solution. Ultimately, you want to be sure that your money is going where you intend it to go.
There are ways to protect yourself and more importantly your money. Before you write that check, click that on-line donate button or place a couple of dollars in a plastic bucket at a red light, you may want to check where the money is going and if it is a legitimate nonprofit. You can find out information about a charity through various channels, here’s two quick ways: call them directly and ask for their Internal Revenue Service tax determination number/employer identification number and then logon to their website to see if they are classified as a 501 (c) 3 organization eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, or you may search websites like GuideStar, Charity Navigator, Charity Register or Charitable Choices that list numerous nonprofits.
Then again, you may want support a cause regardless of their status and that’s okay too!! What’s important is that you give from the heart and help out causes, missions, children, people and animals that otherwise might not get the assistance they desperately need. Giving from the heart and thinking with your head, makes you and your charity feel really good.
Monise W. Quidley, CFRE is the Director of Development for Seabury Resources for Aging. She can be reached at (202) 414-6313 or via email at MQuidley@seaburyresources.org