Through past experiences, it’s become much clearer to me just how much good work charities do. The thing is, over the last few years, people have become very sceptical about whether most charities actually use the money they receive for good, or whether they lie about what they do. This has only been made worse with the recent charity CEO salary scandals and all-around, society just doesn’t seem to trust charities much anymore.
Having seen the good that they can do, it seemed sensible to try and create a shortlist of things to look for when you’re donating – just to make sure that you’re contributing to a charity that will do good.
A Clear Purpose
The first and most important aspect of any charity is that they have a clear purpose. This is important for you because you need to know exactly what your money is supporting. The purpose of a charity can vary a lot depending on their chosen goals. For example, some charities may support war veterans based in Manchester, whilst another may choose to help homeless women across the UK.
It’s important to differentiate the purpose of a charity from its beliefs. For example, a Muslim charity may believe in the five pillars of Islam and operate with them in mind (click here to learn more about it), but that doesn’t mean they will only support Muslim individuals. Make sure to do your research and find out exactly what your money is going to achieve. If a charity has no purpose, then you’ll want to find another that clarifies what they do.
The Charity Register
In the UK, we have a list of official charities who are permitted to ask for donations and have confirmed that they are non-profit organisations. This list is called the Charity Register and when a charity enters it, their name is noted, and they are given a charity number to help them be identified. One of the first things to look for when you’re hoping to donate to a charity is to see if it has been registered. The quickest way to do this is to search the organisation’s website for a charity number but if you can’t locate one, then you can also search the charity register online.
The charity register is important because it removes the risk of you accidentally donating to a profitable organisation that is posing as a charity (who will likely just pocket your money and not help anyone with it). Do your research before giving your money.
Reviews and Feedback
Just like big corporations and businesses, charities rely on workers to operate. Many charities operate solely through volunteers, which is incredible but many also hire employees as dedicated staff (if this appeals to you, you can find charity jobs here). The effectiveness of a charity can usually be understood from speaking to or observing a member of staff working there. It’s a good idea to do some research and see if you can find an employee of the charity you’re looking into, so you can see how they behave and what they think of their workplace.
At the same time, many charities receive online reviews from those that they help. These reviews are a brilliant way of checking what the public think of a charity and their work. Just remember to take each review with a pinch of salt because people tend to make their experiences sound worse than they are when they leave reviews online.
Hopefully, this post will help you the next time you’re looking for a charity to donate to. Charities do incredible work and we really should support the good ones where we can.
This is a collaborative post.