How do you choose a charity?

How To | October 13, 2011

Knowing there are 85,000 registered charities in Canada is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, I’m glad to know SO many people are working to help others, and if there’s a cause I want to support I’m sure I can find a charity to help me do it. On the other hand, it’s an intimidating number if I actually want to go searching for a charity that fits my parameters of giving.

When someone sent me some money to give through Chimp for the first time, I didn’t want to just give it to one of the first charities that popped in my mind. They get plenty of help already; plus, they rarely check the boxes I want checked when giving. So, despite, the intimidating number, I went searching. And here’s how I choose the charity I gave it to.

I wanted one that:

  • Operates in Sudan. Mostly because the country’s not likely to have any government-funded social programs of its own, so international money is essential. And let’s face it, the people of Sudan need help.
  • Spends in all the right places. Meaning, the money goes to the charity’s programs and not administration and fundraising (my cut-off is 15 percent).
  • Had a website where I could read more about what they’re doing. (Any charity, company, etc. just seems more official to me when they have a website.)

So this is where I netted out: The Southern Sudan Humanitarian Action Development Agency. Their revenues in 2009 were just over $14,000, so while my donation may not have been big, it’s obvious every dollar counts.

Except when friends are biking, walking or doing something else for a cause they believe in, I always go to my usual checklist when choosing a charity.

So, what’s on your checklist?


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