Do some research before you donate to a cause

On Mandela Day 2016, police officers and Debonairs worked together to spoil residents of the local Children's Home with treats and blankets.

MALALANE – In just over a week people across the world will be celebrating Mandela Day. This year’s July 18 celebrations are expected to be even bigger, as it is the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

Many people will be looking for causes and organisations to support to give their 67 minutes to make the world a better place. This could also lead to regular donations, so how do you decide what’s the best fit for you?

Many people choose causes that are close to their heart due to their personal history, for example CANSA, because a relative survived cancer, or the SPCA because they have seen the impact of animal cruelty first-hand.

READ: Community walks for 12 hours to support CANSA and cancer survivors

“The problem with choosing a cause this way is that you’re likely to partner with an organisation that already enjoys a lot of support or one that may not make your rand donation go further in achieving the impact you hope to see. We find that a lot of social interventions have a weak or no positive effect, coupled with the risk of fraud targeted at NPOs with weak governance controls,” explains Prince Siluma, the head of FNB philanthropy.

READ: Animal lovers are urged to assist SPCA

Once you have decided to give a donation, whether it is in the form of goods, services or even just your time, you need to do research. Ask yourself what you would like to give and achieve with your donation and look for organisations, charities and causes that align with this.

READ: Community members cooperate to uplift others for Mandela Day

Once you have a list, compare their mission statements by checking the founding documents, usually found on websites or social media platforms.

Then you need to make sure the organisations are in fact registered as trusts, non-profit companies or a voluntary association. The non-profit must be registered and approved by SARS as a Public Benefit Organisation and qualify in terms of section 18A of the Income Tax Act. If not, your donations may not be tax deductible. Most well-known organisations such as the SPCA and Helpende Hand qualify.

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Next, it is important to find out whether your donation will be used for its intended purpose. Organisations should be able to provide you with a list of their key players, such as staff and board members. Programmes, annual reports and financial reports will give you an idea if the company is organised and allow you to track how the funds are spent.

Lastly, try to find out what the company has achieved and what your donation will do. Most organisations do have research on the impact and reach of their programmes. They will also be able to provide evidence to support these claims and their achievements.

READ: Education training to create brighter future for orphans

If an organisation cannot or refuses to provide you with the aforementioned information, it is worth taking a closer look at them or taking your donation elsewhere. If you do not have the time and resources for the required research, contact a social investment professional or someone with ties to various local organisations for advice.

  AUTHOR
Corridor Gazette

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