Remember to give responsibly: Questions to ask - Word&Way

Remember to give responsibly: Questions to ask

By Ken Satterfield

Just because you come across a worthy cause doesn’t mean it is the best means to give. As with church offerings, we want to know the money  or materials we donate will go the furthest. Questions to ask include:

1) What do I know about an organization? Hurricane Katrina relief spawned con artists trying to capitalize on the public’s generosity. The holidays or a familiar icon (such as a ribbon or bracelet) can do the same.
2) How much of my purchase actually goes to a charity? Neither a company nor the charity have to disclose this information.
3) How well does the charity use donations? If most of the money actually pays administrative costs, look elsewhere.
4) Should I use that credit card? If your card purchases benefit a cause or organization, the card’s interest charges may offset a small percentage that your shopping generates.
5) Where is the best purchasing location? It may be better to buy from the non-profit site rather than through a site where a portion goes to the same charity.
6) How does the cause carry out their mission? Do your values agree with their approach?

Find out more:

Charity Navigator (
    • Evaluate charities
    • Includes a 2007 gift-giving guide
GuideStar ( Charity evaluator BBB-related charity evaluator
CNN Money (2006):