Charity Organisations perform so many vital services around the world and in today’s economic climate they have to work harder to attract contributors and meet their targets.
Some will have high overhead costs, others keep these low so most of the donations received will go directly to relief aid. Most people will accept that Charity Organisations cannot avoid running costs and must put a percentage of money into program expenses, administration, wages etc. But how can you donate with confidence, knowing that as high a percentage of money as possible goes to helping those who need it and administration costs are kept to a minimum?
You want to be able to trust your chosen charity and many Organisations now give an indication of this in their advertising for example “100% of every donation you make to (whichever Charity it is) will go directly towards (the people/project needing aid)” but this isn’t always a firm indication and there are scam artists will lie to get your money.
So how can you determine how much of your donation goes to those who need it most? Charities that are accredited by the Better Business Bureau must meet the 20 standards for Charity Accountability and these include how donations are distributed. At least 65% of the Charity’s total expenses must be spent on program activities and no more than 35% on fund raising.
Their index of Charities allows easy research into Charitable Organisations that meet their strict criteria.
The charity navigator website gives a breakdown of costs of individual charities, looking at fund raising, administrative costs and program expenses. They also give each charity a ranking from nil to four stars based on criteria such as what percentage of expenses goes towards program activities. This comprehensive site lists many of the best charities according to certain measures such as the top ‘most requested charities’ ‘ best charities everyone’s heard of’ as well as those charities ‘drowning in administrative costs.’
The BBB also offer steps to help people decide on where to send their donations, including:
* Be wary of claims that 100% of donations will assist relief victims for as they point out, even a credit card donation will involve a minimum processing fee.
* Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers who may not have fully researched listed relief Organisations.
* Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups and does the charity have an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas?
A few basic checks can ensure that a high percentage of donations given to Charity Organisations will go to those in need rather than overhead costs.