December 6, 2016
Throughout the year we donate to charities and feel good about making a meaningful difference. Unfortunately, we sometimes hear of disheartening stories about the mismanagement of charitable funds and charities failing to use resources to best reflect the charity’s mission. We recently had an issue with a charitable bequest made by a deceased client who named the Cancer Fund of America as one of the beneficiaries of her estate through her Last Will and Testament. This well intentioned bequest to benefit those with cancer was thwarted when a 2015 FTC investigation into the Cancer Fund of America resulted in the closure of the charity and revealed that four related Cancer Fund of America charities bilked over $187 million from unsuspecting donors.
As the close of the year is upon us, many want to make charitable gifts. We want to help you make sure your gifts really support causes important to you. How do you know which charity to support? Even among reputable charities, how do you know that your donative intent will be well served? To help you with these questions, we have listed out for you the following charity watchdog organizations which you might want to consult before making a donation:
Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) – an independent charity watchdog that evaluates and rates charities.
The BBBWise Giving Alliance (www.give.org) – a watchdog that is affiliated with the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
CharityWatch (www.charitywatch.org) – provides a letter grade after performing in-depth evaluations of complex financial reporting.
Whether you have made donations in the past to a particular charity or you are looking to contribute to some new cause, it is a good idea to investigate where your charitable monies are actually going. Many charities do so much good work. Let’s make sure we are supporting those which provide the most bang for our buck to causes that matter to each of us.