What Am I Supporting?

Laura is ready to give to charities and organizations, but doesn't know how to check up on them.

QUESTION: Laura wants to donate to charity. How can she check to see if the organizations she wants to support are legit? It involves some work, says Dave.

ANSWER: You’ll never know 100%, but you can research. My wife and I do the majority of our donations to Christian ministries, in addition to our church tithe, and we do most of that in our neighborhood.

Quite often, we’ll visit with the people, take a tour of the place, get a feel from it. I’m not above looking at their financials; many times they will offer that depending on the level of giving that you are doing. If they are secretive, or if you see signs of luxury at the place they are in, you might be looking at some waste and might ask about it. Ask the people what they really plan to buy with this money from the donation. If someone says they are going to help hurricane victims, then I want the victims to get the money and not have the leaders of charities driving a Rolls-Royce.

The people who work at the charity need to make a decent living, but not super rich. Look at the amount of administrative cost. It takes time to do giving responsibly and with excellence.