One solid source to consider when assessing your charity's ability and worthiness is that of constituent communications. What are the people who are consistently close to the charity saying about the charity itself? Does what they are saying comport with and accurately reflect your research?
Are the writings and other forms of input of those involved clear and candid or doe they seem overly flowery and full of fluff content. You will know the difference. You'll see it in posts and especially in the feedback provided in response to postings.
And by the way, there should always be a feedback feature. If not one might be inclined to think the charity or blogger or publisher or whoever is posting is hiding something.
Take the time to know who the constituents are. Think about what they have at stake and how that might affect the content being published. There's nothing wrong with asking the tough questions. In fact it is essential especially since charities are there for the sole purpose of doing good and meaningful work. Many people have a hard time questioning the integrity and openness of such organizations but that does injustice to all. Don't just assume what is being put forth is 100% accurate. Trusted officials and policy makers are not above falsifying and or padding the sometimes unflattering truth with cover pieces. It happens; its just a fact!
Look for published evaluation reports by independent parties outside the subject organization . It really tells us quite a bit when the organization your are conducting research on has made the effort to open their reports to outsider organizations for a objective review. You should not have to dig deeply to find such reports either. Charities should offer up links or easy access to such information as the actual reports right on their website. if not make a call and ask for a copy of recent reports. In the case that you are having a hard time uncovering such independent reports it may be time to re-evaluate the merit of the charitable organization you are considering.
By Scott Davis Former Oakland Raiders; charity blogger