Charity Watchdog Groups

1293 Words6 Pages
In today’s economy, it is more important than ever to understand where your money goes, and how it is being used. Contributing money to a charitable organization is a great gesture, and donors deserve to know how the money they give is being used. Charity watchdog associations play a key role in not only keeping nonprofit organizations accountable, but in helping donors better understand how their donations are used. Three organizations that provide information on how donations are used are: Charity Guide (www.charityguide.org), Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org), and the American Institute of Philanthropy (www. charitywatch.org). Each of these organizations provides resources for potential donors to determine whether they are donating to a well-run charity and not just a good cause. The existence of these organizations can help to increase the accountability of nonprofits. Because much of the financial information is listed on these websites it gives a clear picture to a potential donor of where their money would be spent, and if it would likely go to administrative costs or programs and services. This information is helpful in determining if a nonprofit is providing the services or programs that correspond to its mission. Another incentive for nonprofits to be viewed positively by these organizations is the public image that arises from negative or positive press. A nonprofit could suffer substantially if a bad rating by one of these organizations resulted in reduced donations from donors, and it would most likely take a lot of time to recapture the good will of donors. Granted these organizations are not fool proof. There are many variables that affect a nonprofit organizations budget, and these watchdog groups offer... ... middle of paper ... ...ssful campaign, economic issues, loss of funders, and a change in an organization’s mission can all affect the financials of a nonprofit. This doesn’t mean the nonprofit isn’t being run well, or that it is using its resources inefficiently. It may just be that the organization had an off year, and will up to par in the next fiscal year. It is the responsibility of watchdog organizations to constantly stay abreast of the changes that affect nonprofits and to communicate these things to the public. Without this discretion on the watchdog groups part many nonprofits could be left with an unsatisfactory rating that doesn’t truly represent their organization or what they have achieved. Overall, it’s up to donors to do objective research when it comes to charitable giving. Watchdog groups should only serve as a guide to donors who are looking to donate to the great good.
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