No one has to convince you that Christians should be generous. The problem we run into is deciding to which charitable organizations we should give our money. With so many of them out there, it is difficult to know which ones are doing amazing work-and which ones are not.
Here are five telltale signs that a charity is worth supporting:
1. It is legitimate.
The world is full of people like you who want to make meaningful donations to help others. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of people who want to take advantage of your generosity. When considering a charity, here is the first question you should ask: Is this charity legitimate?
The IRS Nonprofit Charities Database has a great tool that can tell you if a charity actually has a 501(c)(3) tax exemption status. The Exempt Organizations Select Check is a great place to start if you are checking on a charity’s veracity.
2. It has a proven history.
It is a pretty safe guess that a charity with a long history and track record is going to be dependable. With watchdog sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar.org, it is hard to keep a philanthropy scam going for too long. In the confidence department, charities with decades under their belts definitely have something going for them-as do charitable ventures of established organizations.
This does not mean, however, that you cannot trust a newer charity. While a charity’s longevity is an important criterion, it is not the only criterion.
3. It is financially transparent.
There are a number of reasons a charity would want to be financially open and transparent:
• They need to establish confidence with their donors.
• They need to establish trust with their employees.
• They are legally required to disclose financial information.
If you cannot find a charity’s financial information online, feel free to contact them. Tax-exempt nonprofits are required, upon request, to provide copies of the three most recently filed annual information returns, as well as their application for tax exemption.
If a charity is not forthcoming about their financial information, shake the dust off your feet and move on.
4. It can show results.
A good charity should not simply throw numbers and statistics at you. They should be able to define their goals, strategies, and management systems.
A worthy charity can readily demonstrate the positive effects they have achieved (look for stories and testimonials) and clearly define their aspirations for the future.
5. It matches your passion.
In 2010, the Chronicle of Philanthropy announced that the number of U.S. charities and foundations had surpassed 1.2 million. That is an astonishing number of organizations dedicated to charitable work-and it is incredibly good news for donors.
Anyone serious about becoming generous and benevolent should be giving to charities that they can passionately support. Nothing generates even more enthusiasm for giving than knowing that you are contributing toward something about which you are already enthusiastic.
Consider the Kairos Benevolence Fund
For more than 60 years, CDF Capital has been helping churches grow. We started the Kairos Benevolence Fund to assist pastors and missionaries who have ministered faithfully and now find themselves suffering from health or financial crises.
There are many stories and testimonies that demonstrate how the Kairos Benevolence Fund has honored those who have spent their lifetimes serving the church. You can access our financial report as well.
Please consider giving to the Kairos Benevolence Fund.