Can I Avoid a Breast Cancer Scam?
With nearly 240,000 new breast cancer patients diagnosed annually, it is imperative to understand breast cancer charities and what they have to offer to patients and their families. These diagnoses are being given to our friends, mothers, sisters, daughters, and even men throughout our communities. Non-profit organizations can and do help millions of breast cancer fighters every year. With staggering numbers like these, many individuals want to help. However, in today’s world it is important that donors are smart about their donations and who they choose to support. If you are passionate about helping those affected by breast cancer and want to help, finding a worthy and effective cause to get behind is likely important to you. There are many things to consider when reviewing charities to help ensure that your money is not going to a fly by night operation or to a breast cancer scam, operated by someone not officially affiliated with the organization you mean to support.
How to Choose Your Charity Wisely
If you have been touched by breast cancer, then you understand the importance of research, direct aid, education and awareness. Determining which program(s) you would like to volunteer or donate to is critical and is completely in your control.
- Long time philanthropist Dan Pallotta and charity advocate recommends that you contact a charity directly and learn about their programs. Examine their services and ask how they are performing. Going directly to the charity for answers can help you understand how your donation is making a difference.
- Request testimonials from individuals who have been assisted by the organization. Program participants are often the best indicator of whether a breast cancer charity is being effective.
- Pallotta also says that inquiring about future program goals is another great way to understand the vision and direction of an organization.
How to Donate
There are many legitimate concerns about breast cancer fundraising scams. Most non-profit organizations have an online presence that includes a giving component – give your breast cancer donation directly to the organization. This makes giving easier and more secure. Also, giving your donation directly to the organization helps them maximize your dollar by eliminating fundraising costs.
A Non-Profit Should be Transparent
Non-profits must file an annual Form 990’s to the Internal Revenue Service. Request to receive a copy. A reputable organization should not have any problems supplying you with this. Often, an organization will post their most recent 990 filing on their website for the public to review. In addition, most non-profits create an annual report. This is their financial information placed in a reader friendly format. While this is not required by regulatory bodies, often an organization will take the time to make an annual report specifically formatted for easy reading for its supporters. If a charity you are thinking of donating to compiles an annual report, it is suggested that you request a copy for review. Again, with most reputable charities, their annual report, like their 990, will be available directly on their web site.
A Non-Profit Should Have Annual Independent Reviews from Industry Experts
Ask a breast cancer charity if an independent auditing firm completed their 990 filings and their Financial Statements. Most charities, in order to remain compliant, must allow third party experts to review and finalize its annual reporting. This type of independent review and scrutiny can help the donor feel more comfortable that the organization they are generously giving to is not a breast cancer charity scam.
Your donation and support matters – to the men, women and families struggling to find the resources they need while dealing with their diagnosis. Making sure your donation counts toward the work of legitimate charities is as important as the donation itself. Educate yourself to ensure that your gift goes to the right place.
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