4 Incredible Websites for Researching Charitable Organizations’ Credibility

2377016484_2c6f359c50_zUnmistakably, non-profit charitable giving has a protracted history in America. In 2014, alone, Americans gave an estimated $358.38 billion to charity, which even surpassed what was seen prior to the Great Recession.  The benchmark year of 2007 saw charitable intake of an estimated inflation-adjusted total of $355.17 billion. As a philanthropist or a donor, it’s important to give to a credible organization.

There are numerous ways to give and countless organization to contribute to. Prior to offering your money to one of the hundreds or thousands of U.S.-based organizations, confirm that organization is legitimate and you’re actually putting your money toward a good cause. There are numerous organizations you can look to, which will over you a clear understanding of charities’ interests and it helps charitable givers/ social investors can make intelligent giving decisions.

Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities , was founded in 2001. The organization’s professional team of analysts have examined thousands of non-profit financial documents. That knowledge has helped to developed objective, unbiased, numbers-based rating system for assessing over 8,000 American charities. They look at a charity’s performance, accountability and transparency, and they find top-rated charities in every field. The charities boosted by the organization have received four-star ratings for consecutive years.

The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit that’s more than a century old. It consists of 112 independently incorporated local BBB organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Members of the public can search the Better Business Bureau’s website to research domestic and international charities, learning which charities are accredited by the organization.

Charity Watch began as the American Institute of Philanthropy more than 20 years ago. CharityWatch is considered America’s most assertive and independent charity watchdog, helping to demonstrates to the Americans how efficiently a charity will use donations to fund notable programs. They also expose nonprofit abuses and draws in interested advocates. The organization is the site of the American Philanthropic Institute allows anyone to search for info on hundreds of charities.

Google is an extremely visible American multinational technology company that specializes in internet-related services and products. Google is a fundamental tool for searching the web for news, but it’s also instrumental for finding reviews on charities. When using Google, always consider the sources and make sure that everything is backed by factual evidence.

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Millennials Giving to Charity

Charitable giving is being reshaped and millennials are now leading the charge.  In a recent NPR blog, Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of Charity: Water, mentions that this change comes from a previous stance of “I don’t know where my money is going.”  Before founding the organization, Harrison was working in New York promoting a models and bottles style service.  He realized that, if he continued, his legacy would only reflect that he got people drunk.  But a trip to Liberia changed his life forever.  After a short time in the country he saw children drinking out of murky water that Harrison said he wouldn’t even let his dog drink from.  He knew there was a massive problem and he had to do something about it.

davidmantek_waterHe started Charity: Water with the goal to provide clean drinking water to more than 800 million people across Africa and he would need donations to help his cause.  But with a common perception towards charity as a black hole, where money gets thrown with no knowledge to the giver what it is going towards, Harrison realized that he had to accomplish a second thing, making it easier and reinventing the way people understand their donation.

Targeting millennials was a big thing for Harrison and other charities in general.  Over 80 million millennials are now coming of age and are able to spend money on nonprofits.  Identifying how they’ll do so is vital to the future of the nonprofit landscape.

A forecaster for trends in nonprofit giving, Amy Webb, mentions that changing the language could be a simple but big step in the right direction.  Changing the language from donation to investment should help millennials understand where their money is headed.  Webb cites this as a good idea because of the constant sharing between individuals online through social media.

Harrison and Webb have seen millennials put their best foot forward in giving when the cause is shareable, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for example, and it will be continuing trends like this that will shape how giving happens in the next 20 years.