Clarify your values.
Charities are as diverse as their donors. Be proactive and don’t just give to the first one that solicits you! Consider the type of charity you want to support—small or large, start-up or established, or local, national or international.
Focus on the mission.
Make sure a nonprofit has an easy-to-understand mission that aligns with your principles and beliefs.
Get the facts.
Dig deeper once you find a nonprofit that meets your basic requirements. Pay attention to factors that are most relevant to nonprofit performance—results, transparency, and leadership—but don’t buy into the overhead myth. A non-profit’s legitimacy is not just based on its low admin fees. Research mission statements, financial statistics, and impact and effectiveness information.
Let’s face it: there are sham nonprofits out there. If you search for a nonprofit on GuideStar and find it you know the IRS recognizes it as tax exempt. If you can’t find a charity, further investigation is required. Ask to see its IRS letter of determination.
Visit Guidestar for a wealth of information and verification.