Deciding between two apples

How to Evaluate Charities for Year-End Giving

How to Evaluate Charities for Year-End Giving

by Bill High

At this time of year, many people are rushing to complete their year-end giving. Some have already completed their giving to their local church and favorite ministries, and they still have some additional giving to do.

How do you evaluate what is a worthy charity?

One good form of evaluation is from trusted friends: Ask them which charities they support and why. Peer evaluation is one of the best and most trusted methods.

Another basic form of evaluation: Look to see if the charity you are considering is listed as an “efficient” charity by Charity Navigator. Or look to see if they have financial accountability and are listed on the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) website.

Another form of evaluation: Call a Christian community foundation, such as The Signatry, and ask them for advice. Typically, a Christian community foundation will be deeply involved in the community and have a deep awareness of charities in the community.

Of course, the best form of evaluation: Know yourself and your passions. From there, conduct a field trip of charities that match your interests.

Certainly, at this time of year, there may not be time to conduct your own evaluation, so consider opening a donor-advised fund. A donor-advised fund can be set up online in just a few minutes. With a donor-advised fund, the contribution is made in the current year, but the donor still keeps the right to recommend where the distributions will go in the next year and beyond. You can give now, deduct now, and distribute later after you’ve taken the time to make a wise decision.

From there, endeavor next year to involve your family and take that field trip. It’s a great family project!


Photo by Raquel Martínez on Unsplash

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Published December 29, 2010

Topics: Giving Strategies

Charitable GivingGiving StrategiesNonprofits

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