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September 21, 2017

5 Criteria to Consider When Choosing a Charity

With so many worthy charities out there, it's hard to know where to donate your money or used goods. Ultimately, you will have to choose the charity that appeals to you the most, but in particular, you may want to look for a charity that has the following attributes.

1. A Mission You Believe in

As you try to decide where to donate your time, money, vehicles or other items, look at the mission of each charity you are considering. What is that charity doing to make the world a better place? Do you support that effort and want to help?

For example, if sustainable change is important to you, you may want to select a charity that gives people marketable skills that they can use to improve their current situation, rather than a charity that solely focuses on providing financial aid. Both organizations have value, and both would be great to donate to.

As long as the charity has a mission you believe in you'll be happy with your decision and invested in the change you wish to see.

2. Local Presence

In some cases, you may want to send financial help to the other side of the world or to another part of the country, and those types of donations are important and have an impact on the world as a whole. However, in other cases, you may want to focus on charities that are doing work close to home.

In particular, you may want to choose a charity that is making valuable strides in improving the day-to-day life of people in your own community.

3. Big Dreams

For years, donors were told that they should try to look for the charities with the least overhead. The premise makes sense-if a charity has low overhead, it has more money to direct to its cause.

But the world has big problems, and sometimes solving those problems requires some overhead. Instead, of judging charities solely on overhead, you may want to look at what the charity is really accomplishing and what it is dreaming of accomplishing.

To get a closer look at the numbers, you may want to look at the charity's annual report. All 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations that collect over $100,000 in donations or revenue per year must make their annual reports public.

4. Transparency

Even if you decide not to look at the annual report, you want to look for a charity that is transparent. Transparency may include a willingness to answer donor questions, gives a clear mission statement, and welcomes regular tours of the facility.

Since you'll be picking a charity you feel a connection with, you'll probably want to be involved and see how the charity is progressing as it works towards its goals. If you feel like a charity is mysterious, you may want to look for alternative organizations.

5. Easy Process

Additionally, you want to find a charity that makes the donation process easy for you. When it comes to financial donations, for example, you may want the ability to easily make donations online or even to set up automatic monthly drafts from your bank account.

With material donations, such as a vehicle, you want the process to be simple and straightforward. To that end, you need to choose a charity that has a donation process that has already been set up. In our car example, the process would need to quickly transfer the title, assess the value of the donation, and issue you a receipt that you can forward to your tax accountant.

At the Newgate School our mission is to help low-income young adults achieve financial stability. Our tuition free program transforms your donated cars into training opportunities for students to learn skills as auto mechanics or auto body repair technicians. Upon course completion, graduates have the marketable skills necessary to work in the automotive trades. On top of that, we re-donate many of our repaired vehicles to single, working mothers in the community so that they have the means to get to work and provide care for their families.

We firmly believe in transparency, and in fact, we even offer tours on a regular basis. If you want to learn more, attend a tour or donate your vehicle, contact us directly.