Money Matters: Wise Giving Alliance evaluates charities
Sometimes it's pocket change, other times it's a fat check. Whatever the amount, what percentage of a charitable donation actually goes to those in need?Greg Linder, South Plains Better Business Bureau President, said there is a way to find out. "Take time to research where your money is going and what it's going to be used for," Linder said. One tool is the Wise Giving Alliance. "Any charities that solicit funds on a national level are tracked by the Wise Giving Alliance," Linder said.
It's main focus is clear and concise. "To make sure these charities are doing what they say they're doing," Linder said. The organization uses 20 standards to evaluate charities. "They include governance with their board of directors, their finances, how they spend their money and what they spend their money on as far as accomplishing the mission," Linder said. Give.org is where the Wise Giving Alliance assessments can be found. "That's got all the reports they have on national charities that they evaluate and whether or not they meet standards. Here locally we do keep some reports on our local charities that people can look at as well," Linder said. Those can be found at BBB.org, as well as general tips for giving wisely. "First and foremost, get the charity's exact name. There are some charities out there that try to ride the coattails of others," Linder said. Also, watch out for overly emotional appeals. "If they're just trying to rip your heart out, that might make you a little suspicious. You know, if they're trying to get money right now," Linder said. Linder also suggests checking with the IRS to make sure the charity has a 501(c)(3). If it doesn't, contributions may not be tax deductible.