Scott davis Former oakland Raiders - Writes on Charitable giving and how to evaluate the merit of each Charity
Look to third party validation to help decide if a charity is worth its salt. All or most charities will give themselves glowing self-supporting recognition. Who can blame them; they’re in the business of soliciting donations and therefore must continually wow potential donors. But you can’t just take them at their word no matter how sincere and credible their brochures and websites seem. You owe it to the causes and the people that the charities raise money for.
One excellent means to judge a charity’s track record of commitment and claimed results is to read or listen to what others are saying. And the more well-established the sources are the better. So check to see if your selected charity has been covered or written about by any objective qualified outsiders. Search industry relevant publications and websites to verify your own assumptions. Check to make sure any assessments done by third parties are offering up common sense data that your charity has a history of being a results oriented operation. As you accumulate these third party reviews you should gain much more confidence in the charity’s ability to represent your donation well.
Look for open lines of constituent communication. Read and listen to what those, directly involved and those directly affect by the charities efforts, are saying. What kind of quality feedback do the folks that the charity serves have to say? Charities, in my opinion, should make it easy for anyone, especially donors like you, to both provide and access openly published feedback from primary constituents. For many direct-service organizations, who the primary constituents are is clear; for others, the relevant parties may be peers, related groups, policy makers, etc. Keep digging even when feedback isn’t readily available. It will tell you quite a bit concerning important information you may not get from someone over the phone or see on the charity’s website.
Seize the opportunity to review “published” evaluation reports. It’s even better if your target organization goes through the effort to have an independent third party formally evaluate their efforts. And those reports should be published and easy to find. If it is apparent that it is increasingly difficult to find such reports you may give pause to reconsider the charity set against others in its field or area of focus. The charity should also openly share their own organizations internal thoughts on the reports for all to see.
Scott Davis writes a number of Blogs relevant to charities, business and marketing, Illinois Football, and the Oakland Raiders