1. Health

How to Decide What Charities Deserve Your Money

By

Updated December 21, 2012

Thousands of non-profit health and disease charitable organizations ask us to donate money. Most of them are good, bona fide charities, allocating the bulk of their income toward research, education and patient assistance.

But others, even some of the biggest, highest income charities, are not every efficient, spending too much money on salaries and other administrative costs at the expense of patients' benefits. Further, our goals, and their goals, may be very different. So how can we know which are the best charities to donate to?

Here is an approach to help you determine which of the health and disease charities deserves your donation:

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Consider your interests and values.

    Ask yourself questions like:

    • What diagnoses have I dealt with (or do I have now?)
    • What health and medical problems are part of my family history, or have been suffered by my friends or loved ones?
    • What health challenges are (or were) suffered by those I want to honor or memorialize?
    • What organizations already help people who are important to me?
  2. Consider what goals and benefits are important to you.

    Charities have different missions, and you will want to know the mission of any organization you donate to.

    • Some charities will focus on researching treatments and cures - the science of a disease or condition.
    • Others intend to provide educational services, helping people understand their health problems or deal with them better.
    • Individuals who have trouble paying for their care, or who need assistance accessing their care (perhaps needing transportation) are also helped by some charities.
    • If one of your goals is to use charitable donations as a way to lower your tax bill, see notes below.
  3. Consider scope:

    • Local charities, like the children's hospital in your city or a support group organizing body will help the individuals in your community.
    • National charities, like big-name hospitals or those focused on a specific disease or condition will promote research and education.
    • Global charities will focus on improving public health, like focusing on vaccinations for children in third-world countries.

    Determine who you want your money to help, and choose a charity focused on the scope of the organization that mirrors your interests.

  4. Important! Once you have considered the points above, you can research charities to find those that most closely fulfill your interests. You want to be sure they are bona fide charitable organizations that will work toward the goals and interests you've determined are important.

  5. A note about charitable giving and tax deductions:

    If one of your goals is to use your charitable giving as a way to lower your taxes, be sure you understand the IRS's or CRA's rules and guidelines, too.

    Not all organizations that ask for donations are considered bona fide charities for tax purposes. To qualify as an organization for which you can take a tax deduction, the organization must have been approved for that status by the government before you donate.

  6. When your interests and values are combined with your research into well-run charities, you should be confident that your donations are focused toward what is important to you.

What You Need

  • Your computer
  • Your checkbook or credit card

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.