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Smart ways to donate

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September 12, 2014
Deepa Suryanarayan

Smart ways to donate

femina-smart-ways-to-donateEver since Kashmir was hit by massive destructive floods, people have been sharing and spreading information about ways to donate in order to help those stuck in the northern state. While it is easy to get tempted to donate to the first charity that you come across, it is also important that you do a proper check so as to ensure that your money and intention doesn’t go waste.

Also, it is only natural for people to donate more during the festive season, showing the tendency to embrace goodness and become more benevolent. For many of us, donating to the less fortunate is just as much a part of the season’s celebration as devouring sweets and having endless card sessions. However, don’t let your warm and fuzzy feelings lead you to make bad decisions when it comes to donating to charities.

Dhaval Udani, CEO GiveIndia, a pioneering not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping people donate to credible, transparent NGOs, gives you five tips on how to ensure you are making the right choice when donating towards a good cause.

1.Select your passion
Start by making a list of causes which are closest to your heart. What would you change about the world? From curing cancer to saving the environment, there are hard working charities for almost every cause. Once you settle on the area you would like to contribute, the next step is to figure whether you want to donate on a local, national or an international level. You could do a Google search to get a bucket of causes and choose the one closest to your heart.

2. Inspect your charity
After narrowing down on your cause, it’s time to find a charity worth your money. Accountability is the biggest bane of the social sector. Unless you volunteer with a particular NGO or know people who work there, it is very difficult to ascertain the genuineness of an NGO. That’s where organizations like GuideStar and GiveIndia come in the picture. They follow a strict due diligence process wherein their team visits not just the head office of the NGO but also goes to visit the beneficiary to see how they are utilising the donation allotted to them. So avoid being duped by charity scams by double-checking the NGO credentials.

3. Make sure you get bang for your buck
Even if your charity is legitimate, that doesn’t mean your money will be used wisely. On an average, charities spend 20-45% of the donor’s money on program and administration expenses. Your contribution is very valuable hence you need to make sure it gets utilised for its intended purpose. Choose an NGO which has the lowest cost of fundraising and will give you a detailed account of how your money has been utilised.

4. Donate without an intermediary
We all get tons of calls with heartbreaking stories; unfortunately not all of them are genuine. Never make a donation to a telephone caller even if you know the NGO he/she is calling from. It is advisable to really be 100% sure about the charity you are giving to, try to read about it online, talk to friends and if you have the time then visit the centre to see how they work.

5. Try to give more than money
Finally, don’t forget that your favourite charitable organisation is likely to use more than just your money. Mid-day meal programs need hands to serve food; environmental groups need feet to survey land. If you have a particular skill such as graphic design or marketing research, you may be able to donate. Try it, it’ll give you a chance to not just talk the talk but to walk the walk and actually make a difference. And that is a warm, happy feeling no amount of money can match