Many charities are pure of heart, but not all are.
It seems these days as if no one can trusted, even charitable institutions.
How do you keep from becoming cynical—especially when charitable organizations are dishonest?
Kiplinger mentioned four of these so-called charities in a recent article titled "How to Check Out a Charity Before You Donate."
The Federal Trade Commission brought charges against the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and The Breast Cancer Society.
With news like this, your question is timely and important.
You want your money to actually help the intended recipients.
A good place to start is by taking some advice from the Kiplinger article.
Do not speak with telemarketers.
Remove yourself from any situation where you feel pressured or put on the spot.
The charities above all used telemarketing as well as direct mail and legitimate-looking websites.
While these methods do not mean a charity is fraudulent, you want to be wary.
In the famous words of President Ronald Reagan when referring to the Soviet Union ... Trust, but verify!
If you need another reason not to give by phone, think about how these callers often keep a substantial amount of the received funds.
Give directly to legitimate non-profits. You will give more bang for your buck.
Be proactive about your giving.
Know the causes for which you are passionate and create a plan for giving.
If you know where you are giving and how much you intend to give, then you can confidently elude external pressure.
Vet the charity before you donate.
People will say whatever they want for money.
Do your research to confirm whether the charity does what it claims.
Look into third-party evaluations and ratings through the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator or Charity Watch.
These sites do most of the work for you, reviewing the finances, leadership and helpfulness.
A good indicator of suspicious money flow is overhead spending greater than 25%.
Use check or credit.
These money transfer tools are recommended for security and tax deductions.
You will need a receipt from the organization with the donation amount and a statement that it is tax-deductible.
Cash donations do not have these benefits.
Although there are some selfish opportunists who will take advantage of your good heart, many are honest.
Do not let the poor behavior of some keep you from helping those in need.
When you give just make sure your right hand knows what their left hand is doing.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Kiplinger's (June 2016) "How to Check Out a Charity Before You Donate"