Women's Health

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GIVING

How can I tell if a charity is trustworthy before I send in my donation?

There are “charities” that are scams to take your money, and, more commonly, real charities that have good intentions but whose finances are so inefficient that your money would be better spent elsewhere. A legitimate charity will be registered as a nonprofit with the IRS. You can search for any charity’s name on CharityNavigator.org, my nonprofit that evaluates other nonprofits. We have a list of IRS-registered organizations, and each charity receives a rating of zero to four stars, which reflects how strong its finances are and how transparent and accountable the charity is about its work.

But how do we arrive at that number, and how could you do your own digging? First, we ask if this group is financially solvent. Then, if so, how much money does it allocate to its primary mission, versus how much goes to pay for its executives, administrative costs, and efforts in fund-raising?

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