Today is Giving Tuesday, a day when charities are reaching out for contributions heading into the holiday season.
While many of us are willing to provide charities with some funds, we want our hard-earned money to go to good use. There are ways of determining if the charity you are giving to will actually spend the money for its intended purpose.
One easy way is using websites such as Charity Navigator. The website allows donors to search for reputable organizations. Charity Navigator rates charities based on four criteria: Impact & Results, Accountability & Finance, Leadership & Adaptability, and Culture & Community.
The charities are then given a score from 0-100, with those earning a grade of 90-100 garnering a four-star rating. The website uses tax return information to make its determination.
Charity Navigator says it has given ratings to 200,000 different organizations.
“The decision to donate to a charity is deeply personal and complex – one that starts from the heart and is guided by the head,” said Michael Thatcher, president & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Our improved platform reduces the guesswork of that decision by empowering donors to quickly find the charities doing the most impactful work that aligns with their passions and then take action.”
CharityWatch also provides donors with background information on charities. Like Charity Navigator, CharityWatch provides users with a 0-100 score, which correlates with letter grades.
The organization largely looks at how much it costs organizations to raise each $100. If an organization spends less than $4 to raise $100, it generally gets an A+ rating, while organizations that spend over $60 to raise $100 typically get an F rating.
“Giving Tuesday serves as a reminder to balance our individual needs with the needs of the people and causes that most need our help,” said CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron. “But in reality, every day is a good day to turn our thoughts and words into actions by identifying efficient and effective charities to support and making donations.
“While our giving is often driven by a desire for connection to humanity, a sense a duty to help others by sharing our resources, a feeling of gratitude for our good fortune relative to so many others, or a desire to make a positive impact on the world around us, in order for our donations to accomplish what we most want, we need to be thoughtful about how we give.”
While Charity Navigator uses a larger number of charities, CharityWatch evaluates 600 nationwide charities.