6 Things to Keep in Mind When Donating

6 Things to Keep in Mind When Donating

While donating your money to a charity you care about is an amazing way to help others, it’s important to remember that not every donation is equal. Donating to a charity should be considered an opportunity to inspire, motivate or educate. You should feel good knowing that your charitable contributions are going toward organizations and causes that you believe in and are proud to support. Here are six things to keep in mind so that donating is a positive experience:

1. Give directly to those you want to help

Third-party intermediaries, such as large grocery stores, charity organizations, fundraising websites, and other middlemen, are often not doing what you would like them to be doing with your money. You may think that a third party’s involvement would increase the likelihood of your money reaching its target, but it can often do the opposite. For instance, some third party fundraising efforts may take away from what you give.

2. Verify tax-exempt status

If you are unsure if your donation is tax-deductible, you are best donating directly to the charity’s website because charities don’t need to be registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) to accept donations. This way, you know exactly where your contribution is going and you’re ensured a charitable receipt. If a charity is not registered, you should ask them why they aren’t registered prior to donating.

3. Automate smaller recurring donations

Most charities have the option to set up recurring donations, which is a great way to make sure that you are always donating to the charities that you want to support. A monthly donation can range anywhere from $5/month to $500/month, depending on how much you make. No matter how much or little you make, it’s important that your donation is constant and consistent so that the charity can depend on your support.

4. Watch out for donation processing fees

When donating to a charity, you should question whether there are any fees associated with your donation so that you know how much of the money is going directly to your charity of choice. The charity can tell you if there are things like processing or online platform fees associated with your donation and how much they are.

5. Educate yourself on the charity’s mission

So that you can make an informed donation decision, it’s important to educate yourself on what your charity is doing—who they support, what programs they offer, etc. If a charity is not doing anything that you think it should be doing, then ask them to explain what they are doing and why they are there. If a charity isn’t doing anything that’s not ethical, then it might be wise to donate directly to the people you want to help without the intermediary.

6. Request privacy 

When making a donation, especially on car donations and money donations, a charity may ask you for your name, address, and other personal information. However, any donation made through a car donation, cash donation, or gift card is private and confidential. As a doner, you can request to give without your personal contact information to avoid follow up donation requests and to be placed on future call lists.