Here in Oklahoma, we’re quickly coming up on United Way drive time. For those who aren’t familiar with United Way, it’s an organization that The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma is partner with.
According to the website of The United Way of Central Oklahoma, http://www.unitedwayokc.org/about, The United Way “harnesses the power of 50,000 local donors, thousands of volunteers, corporate and government partners and outstanding non-profit Partner Agencies to meet the needs of 420,000 local people each year. Working together, we’re creating opportunities for a better life for everyone in central Oklahoma.”
We are one of many partner agencies with the United Way, and with so many outstanding organizations to support, it can be confusing to decide which agencies to support.
TIP 1: A good place to start is with The United Way agencies. All these agencies have to go through rigorous accountability in order to be a part of The United Way. That means the finances are honest, the programs are vibrant and results are readily available.
TIP 2: Talk to your friends and family. Find out who they support and why. Do they volunteer with an organization? Do they have positive stories about change?
TIP 3: Look up Non Profit ranking sites on the internet, like Charity Navigator or GuideStar. These organizations rate non profits on spending, programs, reliability, etc.
Tip 4: Volunteer at different places to see first hand how the organization runs. A really nice blog by AARP, at http://blog.aarp.org/2011/08/03/5-ways-volunteering-can-help-you-decide-who-to-give-money-to/, gives a lot of great advice about how volunteering can help you decide.
The Salvation Army in Oklahoma and around the world has one of the best reputations of any non profit in the world with 83 cents of every dollar going straight into programs for the needy. In fact, Peter Drucker called The Salvation Army “by far the most effective organization in the U.S.,” in Forbes magazine, and thousands of donors and clients alike are helped by The Army.
So, when deciding who to give your hard-earned money to, the best advice we can give is to do your homework. We, of course, would love to have your support, but whomever you decide to donate to, make sure your generosity is being used in the best possible way.
So, how do you decide who to give to?