The solution, however, is not to give up on giving. This country has a reputation of being generous and it would be a shame to see that change. We give more to charity per capita than any other developed nation — more than $200 billion in 2011, according to Marketplace Money.
In this state the Minnesota Charities Review Council is a good resource to check out a charitable group’s reputation. The council reviews charities through its voluntary review process. When an organization meets all 27 accountability standards, it earns the Meets Standards seal. The organization is then added to the council’s website and newsletter, providing the public with a detailed list of information about trustworthy nonprofits (smartgivers.org).
Not all charitable causes, such as the neighborhood school’s annual spaghetti feed or smaller nonprofits, will necessarily have undergone comprehensive reviews, such as those done by the Review Council. The best tactic is to be familiar with the organization you’re giving to, and if you’re not, ask a lot of questions.
No doubt, too many charities on the “worst” list are wishing you won’t bother to be an informed giver.