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Does Your Favorite Charity Meet These Standards?

Written by Gary North on December 23, 2013

Here is an interview with Ken Berger, who runs the Charity Navigator rating service. I recommended using Charity Navigator in my Tip of the Week last Saturday. You can read it here.

KEN BERGER: We think there are three critical things to consider. One is the finances of the organization. Is it managed well financially? Second, the governance of the organization. Does it have an independent board that has the skills to really lead the organization? It’s not just the CEO, you need that board in charge. And thirdly, and most importantly, the results. Is it truly meeting its mission and does it have data to show, in a measurable way, that it’s really helping people?

JOHN BERGER: All of that sounds like a difficult research project. How can people figure that out?

KEN BERGER: Well, that’s why we were created, to – to try to succinctly, through a star ratings system, uh, reflect back that kind of information, ‘cause it’s true that most Americans only give about 15, 20 minutes to their decision-making, and so to try to have that information available from experts that cull the data, uh, is the way that we’re try to, uh, help with that.

Do you really know about the Board of Directors of your favorite charity?

Do you know what its finances are? Is it a sinking ship?

Do you know what its mission is? Is it fulfilling this mission.

If you don’t know, then give to another charity this year. Find out next year. Check here: www.charitynavigator.org.

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3 thoughts on “Does Your Favorite Charity Meet These Standards?

  1. I find Charity Navigator to be a bit light. A good effort, but much of the information I've been after has been fairly out-of-date, and they don't get into details.

    For those geeky enough, I recommend looking for an organization's IRS Form 990. People may mislead in advertising, but lying on Form 990 risks the wrath of the IRS. If you can wade through it, you'll discover the salaries of all the officers, total income, and the amount of money that actually makes it to programs vs. fundraising and advertising.

  2. Thanks. Charity Nav will be a useful “favorite”. Disappointed though, they don’t rate religious non-profits such as Salvation Army, etc. I used to be on the Board of a small religions non-profit, but resigned when they insisted on soliciting government (taxpayer) money.

  3. londontubes says:

    I think that this is a very important thing to look at as you give your charitable donations. I would like to acquaint you with one you might have not heard of. It is one that uses 100% of your donation to help those in need. Yes, that is not a typo, 100%! Here is a clip from their website: "1) One hundred percent of every dollar donated is used to help those in need without regard to race, religion, or ethnic origin,…" Why would you donate your hard earned money to a "Charity" that keeps some of it for itself?

    Some more from their site: "Since 1985, LDS Charities (aka Humanitarian Services) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided aid regardless of cultural or religious boundaries. Emergency assistance is provided through the Humanitarian Aid Fund, and long-term aid is provided through major initiatives such as wheelchairs, clean water, food initiative, vision care, neonatal resuscitation training, immunization, and a variety of local area initiatives.
    Two tenets of humanitarian aid define LDS Charities: 1) One hundred percent of every dollar donated is used to help those in need without regard to race, religion, or ethnic origin, and 2) LDS Charities helps people attain self-sufficiency so they can be self-reliant long after LDS Charities departs."

    I think that last point is VERY important.

    In 2011, help was provided to more than 2 million people in 132 countries. Currently we are receiving donations for:

    Humanitarian Aid Fund
    Clean Water
    Food Initiative
    Vision Care
    Neonatal Resuscitation Training

    More information is available at http://www.ldscharities.org

    I would encourage you to go to the above website and see what is being done, and consider donating to this worthwhile cause.