Tips for vetting charities

Metro Creative

With so many worthy charities, the vetting process can be difficult, as charities that warrant your time and money are just as easily found as nefarious organizations designed to mislead donors.

When vetting a charity, consider the following tips.

Have some familiarity with the organization.

Many people hope to contribute to a charity with which they have a personal connection. You might have volunteered with this organization in the past or you or a loved one may have even benefitted from their services or programs. Such a personal connection can help you feel more secure about your donations or efforts and may even help you feel as if you’re giving back to an organization that helped you in the past.

Do your homework.

If you aren’t very familiar with a charity but its mission statement strikes a chord, then learn as much about the charity as possible before making your decision to donate or volunteer. Don’t allow an especially persuasive telemarketer to make your decision for you.

Instead, listen to what a solicitor has to say and then let them know you want to do more research before making a final decision. Visit the organization’s Web site, check out its rating from the Better Business Bureau or a charity evaluator like Charity Navigator and talk to friends and family to see if they have any experience with the charity before making your decision.

Be wary of organizations that put pressure on you.

An established charity won’t need to put pressure on you to donate. While charities and nonprofit organizations rely heavily on donors and volunteers to remain operational, their lights won’t be turned off if you don’t immediately make a donation.

If solicitors try to pressure you into making a donation over the phone, politely end the conversation without sharing any personal information. Organizations that try to pressure people into making donations are most likely disreputable.

Recognize that you might be a target.

Criminals who run fraudulent charity scams target specific groups of people, most notably the elderly. Elderly men and women must be wary of potential con artists, who can be persistent in their pursuits.

They often call frequently to establish a rapport in the hopes of tricking elderly citizens into making donations and sharing sensitive financial information.

Elderly persons should be especially vigilant when vetting a charity, avoiding sharing financial information over the telephone and then discussing their donations with their children or loved ones who can help them determine whether an organization is legitimate or not.