How To Pick A Worthwhile Charity And Make Sure Your Funds Are Going To Good Use

Charities. We love them because they help great causes. However, there is a lot of controversy to how genuine some charities are - however big the organisation. So, how do you pick a worthwhile charity and, more importantly, how do you make sure your funds are going to good use?

This article attempts to provide a unique answer to the question provided by the Writer Sunforged at Hubpages.

In answer to the first question, it is easy to pick your favourite cause, after all, there are dozens of charities to any heartfelt subject on a matter that is personal to you. Searching the Internet is easy with keywords such as 'give to charity'. These return with dozens of pages from charities all over the world bidding for your cash. Just add your favourite subject to the keywords and you can bet your bottom dollar there will be a charity that covers it.

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Photo by Shazwellyn
Photo by Shazwellyn

Funding The Money

Search results in the form of AdWords campaigns and personalised targeted advertising (not to mention the bombardment of junk mail that has a habit of winging it's way through your letter box the instant you sign up an 'interest' on a website or telephone call) must be paid for.

So, where do you think the money is coming from to fund these expensive advertising campaigns?

It comes from your donations, reinvested so as another person's money is targeted as a way to increase revenue.

It is a money spinner.

Charitable Organisations, Third Sector Influence And Why Only 1% of Fundraising Goes To Cause

An Example - True Story

On attending an AGM of a famous charity, the chief fundraiser was congratulated on raising £26,000 to the local branch.

Her volunteers had waited with tin in hand outside certain famous brand supermarkets, tirelessly, all year but had achieved this milestone.

Applause for appreciation was cheered all round the room.

Later in the meeting, as the cost summary sheet was revealed, the same fundraiser was earning £28,000 per year for her waged efforts.

This is an example of just one charity, a tip of the iceburg!

Did You Know?

  • Many charities pay AdSense (the advertising medium that pays website owners for web page space) a massive £15 per reader click on AdWords. A proportion of this goes to pay the website that is advertising these charities via the AdSense campaigns (AdWords advertising are displayed on the top and right hand side on Google).
  • Many big charitable organisations give 1 pence in every pound (or 1% proportion) to the cause they are helping. The rest goes in administration.
  • Charities have by far the greatest in profitability (despite being 'non profit making') - they often have more privileged tax breaks, council subsidies and grants than any other business.
  • Charities have - especially the larger ones - more power when it comes to parlimentary decision making. Quite often it is the charity that calls the shots in issues associated with child neglect, for example, by taking on the responsibility of roles associated with Social Services. This is the nature of tendering and the third sector role of charities in Government. Evidence: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jul/09/voluntarysector.policy
  • Many smaller charity registrations are a front for profitable small business (see second bullet point).
  • When you subscribe to a charity giving on a monthly basis, your details get bought by other charities as a point of contact. This is known as the 'mug list', otherwise known as a list of people that are likely givers. Be aware that should you give to a charitable organisation, that you tick the box that says 'I don't want to have my details shared with other similar organisations'. You will find this in fine print.



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Donate Things Rather Than Money

Electric Wheelchair
Electric Wheelchair

How Do You Make Sure Your Funds Are Going To Good Use?

For whatever reason charitable organisations find themselves in, sooner or later, they find themselves chasing their tales on the mouse wheel in the name of marketing. They start investing money, just like any other corporate, in order to make money. The wheel keeps turning and eventually they find that most of their fundraising goes on raising funds!

So, how do you make sure your funds are going to good use? The short answer to this is you don't. However, there is another way...

An Example of Do It Yourself...

A friend asked me what they should do with funds they were raising for a large cancer charity.


I suggested that he might employ a personal foot carer to go into the respite care unit to provide foot massage and nail cutting - a method of helping patients feel good at a time when they are ill and they don't feel good.


This way you know your money is going directly to source and to those who need it the most.

Do It Yourself!

  • Pin point your objectives - what cause would you like to help and how would you do this?
  • Go directly with your money to source. Employ people to help manifest your objective.
  • Many organisations are just as happy to accept 'services' and gifts in the form of materials as they are in receiving hard cash.
  • Talk and communicate with the organisation at local community level. If they won't accept your gift, take it to a charity that are happy and grateful to accept it. This cuts out the charlatan's in charitable organisations.

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Giving To Ease Conscience

It is easy to give money to ease a conscience, especially after the horrendous advertising splurges we find on our televisions. Being at the beck and call of this form of emotional blackmail makes us all feel like giving everything we can - if our contribution can help alleviate human or animal suffering, then give we shall.

Many Drops Make An Ocean

Putting your hand in your wallet and donating to worthy causes isn't all we think it is, as demonstrated in this article. The only way we can make sure that our funds are going to good use is by organising practical solutions ourselves. Is it not many drops that make an ocean? If every person gave of themselves, directly to source, then this will be the best use of money. Give with an open heart with no thought of a return and avoid the corporate bureaucracy that many charities find themselves caught within.

© Shazwellyn 2012 - This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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Comments 4 comments

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

You might think this is corny, but when I feel like donating when prompted by a commercial about starving children, I try to give to the Baptist World Hunger Fund. Every penny goes to purchase food. Adminnistrative and distribution costs are all covered by other church funding. You may want to look into it. You don't have to be a Baptist, I'm not.

I am doing my own little united way, since I think even some of the best charities use too much for administration.


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

WD Curry - well done. It would be unfair to tarnish ALL charities with the same brush, but it seems that sooner or later, they end up fundraising just to raise funds. The bigger they become the beast gives less.

Thank you for visiting!


pippap profile image

pippap 4 years ago from Surrey, BC

Great hub. One must be very careful about who they donate to and how they donate. I don't want most of my donated dollars going to the fundraisers! Personally, I have chosen World Vision as my charity because 81% of every dollar I send goes to the child, his/her family and/or the community.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Good tips! I also LIVE by charitynavigator.org. They have a great ratings system and make it easy to evaluate how much of your donation is going to be spent on the actual purpose of the charity (versus fundraising or operating costs).

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