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Research Your Charity of Choice

By: Turf Valley Resort. / 18 Apr 2024

We know that giving is an essential part of American life. Over $500 billion was donated in 2022, with nearly two-thirds coming from private individuals. One of the biggest challenges of charitable donations is choosing where to give our hard-earned dollars. There are more than 1.5 million charities in the U.S. alone, so narrowing down to a select few can be overwhelming. Many of us will give to familiar charities or to causes close to our hearts.

An important factor that is often overlooked is the charity's overall governance and their financial accountability for donations. After all, we want to think that every dollar will advance research or go directly to the people or things it supports. But the truth is more complex as organizational costs such as management, fundraising, and other expenses are also necessary.

"A charity's ability to keep its fundraising and other overhead expenses reasonable is what determines how much of your contribution will be available to fund the charitable programs you are intending to support with your donations," as described by Charity Watch.

The bottom line is to get an overall feel for how donations are spent and what portion goes where. There are several charity watchdogs such as BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch and Charity Navigator that are useful in researching charities and scoring their performance.  

Other tips for giving include:

  • Contact the charity and give directly – Bypass calls and solicitations to avoid 3rd party fundraising that may keep a portion of any donation.
  • Verify tax-exempt status – Check to ensure donations are tax deductible by asking the charity or checking the IRS website.
  • Avoid fees – Online donations may charge processing fees. Consider a check or direct bank transfer.
  • Ask for privacy – Verify the charity's privacy policy to avoid your contact information being sold or to reduce future appeals via phone calls and/or mail.
  • Watch out for similar sounding charities – Confirm the exact name of the charity you have selected. Often charities use similar names because they are focused on the same cause.   (Consumer Reports, 11/2019)

The Giving Season is usually the final two months of the year, and 31% of annual gifts are made in December alone. As we approach the half-year mark, now is the time to do your research on your charity of choice. 


Written by:

Erik Weinert, Corporate Account Executive at Turf Valley Resort

Meet Erik Turf Valley

Erik Weinert - Account Executive - Turf Valley Resort | LinkedIn

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