Monday, August 2, 2010

How Technology Has Transformed Charitable Giving

Each year, millions of dollars are raised for charities; the way this fundraising happens is changing rapidly, thanks in large part to technological advances. I love how technology has enabled me to contribute money quickly and conveniently to my favorite charities.

As more of us become more comfortable with internet transactions, it is still important to remain vigilant so that we protect ourselves. Whether you regularly make charitable donations online or are considering this avenue, take the following steps to minimize the chance of potential problems.

How to donate online safely
Always verify the charity. Beware of phony websites. Look closely at the web address of the charity. Scammers may use web addresses that appear similar but not exact to the official site of an organization to deceive users. The Charities Review Council’s online list of reviewed charities includes the URL addresses of reviewed organizations as part of their review reports.

Donate through a web site that is secured: To verify your session is secure, look for “https:” instead of “http:” in the URL address line, as well as the padlock icon on your browser's status bar. I, especially, love donating through secured giving portal sites such as GiveMN.org that accept donations for the charity of my choice. In addition to secure giving, I can also track my giving and print receipts, a very handy feature for when tax time rolls around!

For more information on safe online giving, check out the Council's helpful online giving tips page on our website. Whether you give online or off-line, it is always a good idea to research the organization to learn more about its mission and programs.

What you need to know about texting-to-give
Texting-to-give, also known as mobile giving, is a convenient and quick way to donate to a charity. But wait. Do you know how, when and where your money is going and feel sure that it will be used wisely? Before picking up your phone to text your gift, check out our online tips for what you need to know about texting-to-give.

How have you seen the technology of charitable giving change? What ways can technological advances in charitable giving help encourage philanthropy?

3 comments:

Money Ideas Guy said...

It is a great idea to check out charities online, but also be aware that the figures shown for how much goes to overhead and such are not always the whole truth. For example, they might count overhead in the U.S, operations, and count all of the money in another country as direct program spending, even though they have offices to operate there as well. We give directly to families we know in other countries who need help, but if this isn't possible, even if money is eaten by program costs, it is better than nothing to give through decent charities.

Helen Ng said...

Thank you for your interesting comment about differences in accounting. Financial ratios of how much an organization spends on overhead do not tell the entire story and it is all the more reason not to evaluate a charity just on this one single measure.

When researching charities, it is always a good idea to look beyond the financial information. We encourage donors to learn more about an organization’s mission, programs, specific results and accomplishments.

One way to get in-depth information about charities is by checking out charity review results of organizations that have participated in reviews though the Council. Reviews, based on adherence to our Accountability Standards, offer a deeper insight into an organization. Review reports can be found by searching for reviews on charities in our online charity search.

Peter from incinerator bin said...

I agree with the money ideas guy its definitely a good idea to do proper research before donating. As you said technology has completely changed the way people donate to charities. This is primarily evident in social platforms such as Facebook. Facebook is amazingly good at generating interest for charity's for the most unlikely of causes. The Malaysian man that was mugged in London recently received thousands after his video was uploaded to youtube and a Facebook profile created.