Supporting local or even national and international charities is a great way to give back to your community and to those who are struggling. But how can you be certain of where the money you are donating is going? Is it going directly to the organization? Or is it going directly to the people who are in need? These are all questions that you should be asking before deciding which charity you should be giving too. Here is a quick guide on how to identify who you should be donating to.

Start with Your Values

Understanding what values you have is the first step in deciding which charity to give to. Do you have an interest in the environment, education, world hunger issues, or animal welfare? After you decide what type of organization you have an interest in donating to, determine where you believe the charity should be doing work in. do you think that they should be a more local charity and just give back to your community? Or should they be serving on a larger scale such as the nation or even internationally? Do you want an established charity that has been around for quite some time or possibly a newer charity that is just starting? Narrowing down your selection of charities by asking these questions is a great way to find the perfect organization for you.

Check for Legitimacy

Unfortunately, we do live in a world where some will falsify their organizations as charities so they are able to bring in more money that isn’t going to the people they say it is going towards. Using tools like GuideStar can help prove the legitimacy of the organization. These types of databases will detail whether or not the organization is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt nonprofit. It is also useful that once you narrow down your charity choices to reach out to them personally and ask questions or see if they will meet with you. The more transparent the organization the more likely they are legitimate.

After You Have Selected an Organization

Once you have determined which charity is the best option for you and your values, it is important to consider your choice a long-term investment. Charities often will factor in donations to their budget so they know where they can grow their organization as well as how much will be going out to supporting the cause they are behind. No matter the actual amount the donation is, it is necessary to stick with that commitment as long as you can. Charities are built off of recurring donations to stay afloat and to continue providing great services for those who are in need.