posted by Talk About Giving blog team
February 17, 2012 @ 8:30 am
As you probably know, the Susan G. Komen Foundation recently caused quite a stir. We are certainly not here to debate their decision(s) or the fall-out(s), but in reading responses to articles and social media postings over the past week, it is evident that many of us are not completely aware of how the nonprofits we support use the money we donate or raise on their behalf.
It’s important to do your homework before supporting charities to ensure that your money is being used appropriately and in support of initiatives that you intend to be part of. For adults this can obviously involve significant financial investigation and vetting, however there are activities and discussions children can participate in to increase their awareness of what they are supporting and understand the importance of being sure our money is used well.
Here are some starters for your family in ensuring that your contributing to an organization that will put your money to good use:
- What’s a nonprofit? The implications of an organization’s 501(3)(c) status is probably too much information for kids, but what does it mean to be a nonprofit and why is this important when you give money? The financial bottom-line is important to every organization, but basically nonprofits are motivated by goals, not by making money.
- What do they do? We know that St. Lawrence Place provides housing for homeless families, but did you also know that they provide counseling, support and classes on budgeting and parenting? They also tend to the needs of the children who live there by providing childcare, camps, field trips, tutoring and mentoring. Being aware of the full scope of services a nonprofit offers is essential to understanding how your money is being used.
- Visit. Hands-on experience is important to all of us, especially children. When considering a donation to a nonprofit, make an appointment for a site-visit. Meet the administrators, tour the facility and if appropriate, ask to speak with a participant to understand how the organization is helping them. Get the big picture by seeing it firsthand. Do you like what you see?
- Avoid the Kneejerk. Sometimes, we hear about a great cause and want to immediately give some money. But most financial giving requires some level of planning. Can you support this organization in addition to the other commitments you’ve made? How much do you have in your ‘give jar’ and can you afford to do more than you planned?
What other ways can we ensure that the money we give is used well? What suggestions do your children have? Find out using the Question of the Week!
Published each Friday, use the Question of the Week to spark conversation with your children about family, money, giving and help them explore what matters most to them.