09 Jan Who Should You Help?
A few days ago I was in the grocery store and started talking with the two women standing in line behind me. Apparently, there was a young woman with a baby going around the store and asking people for money to help buy groceries for her family. The woman directly behind me refused to give her money; the woman behind her gave the young woman money and then was feeling weird about it.
I didn’t encounter the young woman, but I’m not sure what I would’ve done in this day and age of scammers. I’ve said no to people who said they were in need before. I’ve also opened my wallet and given my last $5 to a young man in a parking lot before. Neither way is right or wrong because, really, we don’t know their actual situations or their hearts.
Who Should We Help?
So, how do we know who to help? Well, in the woman’s case in line behind me, I told her not to feel bad. She gave the young woman money out of her giving heart. If that young woman was being dishonest, then it is on her–she will need to deal with that, answer for that, at some point.
But, how can you protect yourself if you want to support a charity in 2013?
Protect Yourself When Supporting a Charity in 2013
A New Year’s resolution for many is giving back. However, how do you protect yourself when supporting a charity like Monkey Do Project?
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself.
1. Look for transparency.
It’s easy to set up a professional looking website or blog, so don’t just go by that. See if they have social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook and see how they interact with others on there (or if they do at all). Also, see what the non-profit is talking about, if there are photos of them actually doing what they say they’re doing, etc.
At Monkey Do Project, if we were any more transparent, you would probably be living with the board members. Connect with any of us and we’ll answer any and all questions you have. Just ask. The Monkey Do Project board members are doing this because we have a heart for giving. None of us are paid.
2. Ask where the money goes.
Don’t be afraid to ask where the money goes and how much of the donation is used directly for the cause. Most non-profits use a percentage of the donation for the cause and then the rest for overhead/administrative costs.
At Monkey Do Project, right now at least 90% of the donations are going directly to our projects to help those in need. Most of the administrative costs (you know, website fees, shipping of goods, etc.) are paid by the board members or by sponsors who have taken up that cause. (For example, right now we have a company who wants to remain anonymous paying for most of our shipping.)
3. See if they are registered.
Don’t be afraid to ask if the group or organization is registered as a non-profit in their state and/or a 501(c)3. In most states, you have to go through a pretty rigorous application process in order to register as a non-profit. (As a matter of fact, you have to go through a pretty rigorous process to even register as a non-profit on PayPal to take donation payments!)
The Monkey Do Project is a registered non-profit in Indiana (where our corporate “offices” are located) and we are in the process of filing our 501(c)3. We’ve tried to keep that information available throughout the steps.
4. Never give your donation payment info on the phone or through email.
There are too many scammers out there to give your information out on the phone. Also, email is not a secure payment method, so I would be wary of people asking you for money via email.
5. Follow your gut.
The bottom line is if it doesn’t sound or feel right, it probably isn’t. Always follow your gut instinct.
If you’re looking for an honest non-profit in 2013, helping people right here in the U.S., we would love for you to consider donating to Monkey Do Project. And, if you have a question, feel free to ask. We’re happy to answer!