Financial wealth is important, but it's not everything. Helping others is important too. I am a firm believer that by helping others we also help ourselves. I don't say that because I believe that the money you or I may give comes back to us in a magnified way. Instead, I believe that there is something in the human soul that feels called to do it. For many of us in this country, we feel gratitude for what we have and giving allows us to express that gratitude. It also allows us to look at the world and say "I made a difference."
Three Reasons for Giving
Charitable giving is a neat thing to do and we say that for three simple reasons:
- Charitable giving is a powerful tradition that can link family members together, even when children and grandchildren get older and move away. Learn more about the Family Bank....
- If you believe - as we do - that it is important to help others if you can, well, there are a lot of people that could use a hand.
- There are powerful tax incentives associated with charitable gifts....and most people fail to use them properly.
Charity Due Diligence
There are a lot of great resources that let you evaluate charities and the below are links to several of them. Through these resources, you can search for charities by location, by charitable mission, by asset size, reputation, etc.
- Charity Navigator - With over 7 million users and 8,000 charities studied, this site is well known and respected for it's simple 4-star rating system.
- GuideStar - With nearly 1.8 million charities listed, GuideStar has more non-profits listed in its database than any other of which we're aware. The company doesn't provide a rating system on each charity. Instead, it lists the shares the financials and asks users to make their own evaluations.
- Charity Watch - While Charity Navigator and Guidestar both do a great job in looking the financial statements of non-profits, Charity Watch digs down to understand just how effective the charity is at its mission. It also looks at how much is being spent today on program expenses vs. how much is held back in reserve for the future. Because of the more in-depth coverage, this site only covers 600 charities or so.
- GreatNonProfits - This is a relatively new addition and it has a social media take on the charitable arena. In short, this website is to non-profits what Yelp is to restaurants. It's a very neat place to go to see what others are saying about a charity....particularly when the charity is local. Personally, I think this is a great idea.