Our MEIRA clients are increasingly utilizing charitable giving by donating to charities through Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from their IRA Investment accounts (if you’d like to learn more, please let us know). In some cases, we’ve had clients who wanted assistance in identifying a charitable organization, so I developed a bit of a how-to-guide below.
Researching the Right Charity
One way to research charities is by utilizing credible online resources. The three most common websites to search are:
- https://www.give.org/ (a Better Business Bureau giving alliance)
Why research a charity? There are many factors that you’ll want to consider when donating to a charity and you do not want to donate by name alone. By doing the proper amount of research and due diligence, you can ensure that the money you donate is used more toward the charitable cause that you’d like to support (instead of going predominantly to fund company overhead costs, for example).
Some organizations may spend too much on administrative and fundraising marketing costs or are outright scams. Keep in mind that anywhere from 0% to 50% or more of your donation can go to cover business overhead and not directly to the cause.
A recent NPR article I read on charities highlighted charitable endowments. One gauge of the success of a charity (and its overall management) can be how much the charity raises each year that goes into an endowment to fund the charity versus going directly to fund operating expenses. By doing a proper level of diligence, you can feel more confident that your money is going to a charity that deserves your assistance.
Be sure to review the charity's own website for information, as well, so that you’re comfortable with the level of transparency that they offer about their services and process. Ask to speak with someone in development at the charity if you have questions that you can’t find answers to online.
Typically smaller and lesser-known non-profits, can be found online from rating groups such as:
Lastly, if the charity is local, visit and volunteer to make sure the donation feels right to you!