You have decided you want to help. That is OUTSTANDING! You have also realized you have no idea where to start. Don’t worry, we can give you some quick tips to get moving in the right direction.
Things you can do to find opportunities to help someone
Ask friends, family and co-workers if they have charities that they donate to on a regular basis. Many of us know someone who’s family or loved ones have been affected by a devastating illness. Reach out to these people for ideas on how you can help.
Churches, if you belong to a church (even if you don’t) check with the Pastor about outreach efforts they have and how you can support them. Oftentimes Churches have charitable efforts both in the local community and abroad. These efforts span a wide spectrum issues from abuse to hunger both at home and abroad. You don’t need to be a practice a particular religion to get involved. Compassion recognizes no cultural, ethnic or religious boundaries.
Another simple to use option is search engines. You can just type in a search on Google, Bing or Yahoo and view the results it returns. You will get quite a few so you will want to be as specific as you can. Think along the lines of searches like “charities for children with Leukemia”, etc. This will help narrow the scope of results a search returns.
You found your charity, now what?
You want to research and investigate a charity to make sure:
1) It is legitimate
2) It is suitable for you and your objectives
3) How are donations disbursed
Finding out if a charity is legitimate is fairly easy. The IRS has a page( http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Search-for-Charities )where you can view audits and check on the status of an organization.
Is it suitable for you? This is a personal choice. You should visit their website and read all the available material. If they offer to mail you more information take advantage of that. If you still have questions pick up the phone. Most charities will happily take your call and answer any questions you may have. Make sure you are choosing the organization that is right for you and supports an issue you are passionate about.
Finally, don’t just take a charities word on how donated funds or goods are used. Visit Charity Navigator . Charity Navigator is an impartial third party that compiles data on charities and puts them in an easy to use format for review. They make available a great deal of information, like how donated money is used, in an very easy to digest way. This site is invaluable in doing your do diligence on charities.
There it is, your primer on finding and researching charities. We hope if was informative. Remember JUST GIVE! God Bless