Top 4 Tips for Choosing a Charity Organisation to Help
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Published by TOP4 Team
Australians are already known as a nation of givers. However, with all the worthy causes competing for our attention, how much time do we spend on researching an accountable charity? How can we be sure our donations are going towards helping the needy and not just staffing administrations or even perpetuating the problem itself?
Here are some tips that will help you choose a charity that will extend your helping hand to the less fortunate.
Look for a listed charity.
If you’re giving domestically, the Philanthropy Australia website is a reputable source of links to recognised charities. If you’re giving internationally, you’ll have to do your own research. Some countries have domestic lists of charities; others are far behind on this.
In these cases, look for a well-presented website, preferably one that uses established methods of payment such as PayPal and listed email addresses that don’t bounce when you write to them. Evidence of donor support from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) governments is also a positive sign that this charity is recognised internationally.
When some people think of the less fortunate, they think about those abroad. However, destitution and injustice exist right here within our borders, too. So why not look locally for charities that support fellow Australians?
Visit the project.
This is worth considering if you live nearby, you’re a regular donor to a cause or planning an international trip to the region you’re supporting. Visiting the charity site can help you to get a sense of the on-the-ground activity and cost-effectiveness of an organisation, as well as a more concrete idea of where the funds are going, or not going.
Be smart on these visits. Keep an eye on operations and budgets – especially the sourcing of materials and labour. Does the cost of these items match what you would expect to pay locally? Don’t be afraid to ask questions or raise challenges to the way the organisation is run.
You should always try to choose a charity with clear outcomes, a track record of progress and projections that match past success. Contact the organisation about anything you don’t understand. Look at your monthly or annual donation with the same critical eye as you have for any other expenses.
Bonus Tip: Give yourself.
Why not give your time and effort instead of a donation, or both? ‘In-kind’ donations (like volunteering, gifting of second-hand goods, or offering your business, workplace or skills to help others) are incredible ways to bring about change. Whether you have plenty or little time and resources to give, this can sometimes be the more worthwhile route to an excellent charitable contribution (than simply handing over your credit card number to the sales team of a charity).