Showing posts with label #intelligentgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #intelligentgiving. Show all posts

Thursday, October 17, 2013

When A Charity Calls Thursday Tip: Eliminate The Middleman

Eliminate The Middleman

If you determine that the telemarketer is calling you on behalf of a charity that you wish to support, contact the charity and find out how to donate to it directly. That way you avoid having part of your donation taken by a for-profit company.

To conclude the 'When a Charity Calls'  series, if you take only one thing away, we hope it is: when telemarketers are involved, just HANG up the phone!

See our last tip here: Do Some Research

Friday, August 16, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Share Your Intentions And Make A Long-Term Commitment

Share Your Intentions And Make A Long-Term Commitment

Smart donors support their favorite charities for the long haul. They see themselves as a partner in the charity's efforts to bring about change. They know that only with long-term, committed supporters can a charity be successful. And they don't hesitate to tell the charity of their giving plans so that the organization knows it can rely on the donor and the charity doesn't have to waste resources and harass the donor by sending numerous solicitations.

This is the last in this series of 'Intelligent Giving Friday' tips. Stay tuned next week to see what new series we commence! Hint: It should come live on Thursday. Have a great weekend.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Concentrate Your Giving

Concentrate Your Giving

When it comes to financial investments, diversification is the key to reducing risk. The opposite is true for philanthropic investments. If you've really taken the time to identify a well-run charity that is engaged in a cause that you are passionate about, you should then feel confident in giving it a donation. Spreading your money among multiple organizations not only results in your mail box filling up with more appeals, it also diminishes the possibility of any of those groups bringing about substantive change as each charity is wasting part of your gift on processing expenses for that gift.

Have a great, concentrated weekend everyone!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Start A Dialogue To Investigate a Charity's Programmatic Results

Start A Dialogue To Investigate Its Programmatic Results

Although it takes some effort on their part to assess a charity's programmatic impact, donors who are committed to advancing real change believe that it is worth their time. Before they make a contribution, they talk with the charity to learn about its accomplishments, goals and challenges. These donors are prepared to walk away from any charity that is unable or unwilling to participate in this type of conversation.

Charity Navigator has begun to investigate each charity's Results Reporting. You can learn about our expanded methodology  here.

Have a great first weekend of August!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Obtain Copies of a Charities Financial Records

Savvy donors know that the financial health of a charity is a strong indicator of the charity's programmatic performance. They know that in most cause areas, the most efficient charities spend 75% or more of their budget on their programs and services and less than 25% on fundraising and administrative fees. However, they also understand that mid-to-large sized charities do require a strong infrastructure therefore a claim of zero fundraising and/or administrative fees is unlikely at best. They understand that a charity's ability to sustain its programs over time is just as important as its short-term day-to-day spending practices. Therefore, savvy donors also seek out charities that are able to grow their revenue at least at the rate of inflation, that continue to invest in their programs and that have some money saved for a rainy day. All of this analysis is provided on Charity Navigator's website for free, but when considering groups not found here, savvy donors ask the charity for copies of its three most recent Forms 990. Not only can the donor examine the charity's finances, but the charity's willingness to send the documents is a good way to assess its commitment to transparency.

I wish you all a great weekend. Stay cool!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Intelligent Giving Tip Friday: Check The Charity's Commitment To Accountability & Transparency

Check The Charity's Commitment To Accountability & Transparency

In 2011, Charity Navigator added an Accountability & Transparency dimension to its rating system. It tracks metrics such as whether the charity used an objective process to determine their CEO’s salary, whether it has an effective governance structure, and whether it has a whistleblower policy. This data is critical because charities that follow good governance and transparency practices are less likely to engage in unethical or irresponsible activities. So, the risk that such charities would misuse donations is lower than for charities that don't adopt such practices.

Have a great see-through weekend!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Confirm 501(c)(3) Status

Confirm 501(c) (3) Status

Wise donors don't drop money into canisters at the checkout counter or hand over cash to solicitors outside the supermarket. Situations like these are irresistible to scam artists who wish to take advantage of your goodwill. Smart givers only support groups granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator meet this basic requirement.

Once again, happy 4th of July and enjoy your weekend!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Be Careful of Sound-Alike Names

Be Careful Of Sound-Alike Names

Uninformed donors are easily confused by charities that have strikingly similar names to others. How many of us could tell the difference between an appeal from the Children's Charity Fund and the Children's Defense Fund? Their names sound the same, but their performances are vastly different. Would you be surprised to learn that the Children's Charity Fund is a 0-star charity while the Children's Defense Fund is a 3-star charity? Informed donors take the time to uncover the difference.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Volunteer a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

Great news! 

Want a medicine-free alternative to help prevent high blood pressure? Add volunteering to your routine! 

Researchers have found that volunteering can help reduce older adults' risk of high blood pressure. Why? It is a positive lifestyle factor that also increases social interaction which has been proven to promote healthy aging.

Check out our Guide to Volunteering to get started!

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." - James M. Barrie

Friday, June 21, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Eliminate The Middleman

Hang Up The Phone / Eliminate The Middleman

Informed donors recognize that for-profit fundraisers, those often used in charitable telemarketing campaigns, keep a large portion (in some cases all) of each dollar they collect (read our report about  telemarketing for more specifics on the costs affiliated with this form of fundraising). Wise donors never give out their personal information – like credit card accounts, social security numbers – over the phone. If they like what they hear in the pitch, they'll hang up, investigate the charity on-line and send their contribution directly to the charity, thereby cutting out the middleman and ensuring 100% of their donation reaches the charity. Taking it a step further, donors may want to reconsider supporting a charity that uses an inefficient telemarketing approach and instead identify a charity that does not use telemarketing to raise funds. 

A recent study, "The 50 worst Charities In America," conducted by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), confirms this tip.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Donors Beware - Fraudulent Fundraising Letter

There may be a fraudulent fundraising letter circulating, according to Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura. The organization listed on the letter is the United States Deputy Sheriff's AssociationThis organization receives a 0-star rating which is our very worst rating.

The association alleges to be dedicated to officer survival training and seeks donations to underwrite its programs. But Sherif Fontoura said "this organization is not connected with any legitimate police, sheriff’s or public safety department as far as we can tell.” 

This is just another reminder to give intelligently, do your due diligence and beware. Please c
heck out our Top 10 Best Practices for Savvy Donors for more tips on how to be an informed giver.