Want to Give, But Not Sure Which Charity to Choose?

As the world has changed over the last few months due to renewed social action and the harsh realities of a global pandemic, many of my clients have decided to name a charity as a beneficiary in their will. 

For example, a client came to me last week and was confused about how to go about safely giving some of his wealth to charity. “I really want to leave some of my assets to a charity,” he said. “But I don’t know which one I should choose.”

This problem is a lot more common than you may think. Charities are oftentimes labyrinthian fields of red tape and bureaucracy where funds might not reach the people that you want it to. So you might think that your money is going to one place, but it could be used to pay for something else. 

In addition to being indecisive on which charity to choose my client was worried about precisely that mismanagement. He wanted to know exactly what percentage of his gift will assist someone in need, and not completely directed to administrative and overhead costs. 

There is a great website that was established for this very purpose called Charity Navigator.   

In addition to rating charities, it also contains information about:

What to Do When A Charity Calls? For starters, be wary and ask questions. Remember, this is your money and your legacy, you have a right to know exactly where it’s going. Get these answers in writing, make sure that you document who you spoke to and write down names, dates, and times of phone calls. Once the call ends, continue with your research, learn about the organization on your own, and don’t take the word of other people as gospel. Finally—and most importantly—don’t give out private or credit card information to inbound callers. 

Protecting Yourself From Online Scams. Again, it’s important to be wary and vigilant. Don’t give out any private information based on unsolicited emails. To be absolutely safe, delete unknown emails with attachments without opening the email message. One of the ways that scammers access your private information is when an unsuspecting person opens an email attachment. This can trigger the attachment to deploy on your device and mine it for your most sensitive information. By not opening the attachment, you will unequivocally stop that from occurring.  

How to Stop Solicitations by Mail. Once you make your charity choice and determine your donation size, request that your name not be shared with other charities. If you are still getting solicitations, call the charity directly to stop the mail. Another important tip: avoid giving lots of small donations to many charities.  

When making a gift of charity, you want to be sure your money will be used properly by an organization you trust. So always do your homework, and ask lots of questions, before you give.  

For more information about donating to a charity, contact my office at (978) 269-4485 with any questions and I’ll be glad to assist you.