Choose the Right Charity to Battle Ebola

By Edward K. Chapnick

When facing a global crisis such as the recent Ebola outbreak, lots of funding and services are needed to fight the threat. Hundreds of charities can provide much of these resources, but they need your support. But the question is: How do you choose a charity to give your money? Here are some tips:

  • Know where your heart is. Figure out what you’re most passionate about. Ask yourself some questions. Is it providing medical care to the current patients? Is it educating the public? Supporting the healthcare workers? Whatever your major interest and concern is, search for a charity that matches what you’re passionate about.

  • Make sure the charity is legitimate. Before giving a penny to anyone, you should do a bit of web sleuthing. You can do generic web searches of their name just to see what comes up, and also make sure to look them up on the GuideStar website or on Charity Navigator. These sites compile all data, reviews, and information on all registered nonprofit organizations in the United States so you can see exactly whom you’re donating to.

  • Look at the charity’s website. Take some time and study the charity. Ask yourself some important questions. How thorough is the site? Does it give you plenty of information about what the charity’s services are? Does the charity talk about percentage of fund-raising? How about administrative expenses? Are there photos or testimonials from clients? All of these items can help give you an idea of how real the charity is — and how well it stewards your donation.

  • Be aware of similar-sounding names. If you already have a charity in mind and you do a web search for it, pay close attention to what comes up when you type in the URL. Make sure that you’re giving to the charity that you mean to.

  • Trust your gut. If anything doesn’t look or feel right, then don’t proceed. You have a lot of charities to choose from, so keep looking. There’s no need to donate to one that doesn’t sit well.