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There comes a time when we think about what we will leave behind us. Have we made the world a better place? One way to ensure that is by leaving money to a charitable cause. A bequest or legacy can help fund a cause you care about, even open new channels of funding!
With over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S.1, picking the right one to support can be difficult. All these organizations run on grants, contributions, and merchandise sales, but that is often where the similarities end. The sad truth is that there are charitable organizations that spend more on overhead, salaries, and advertising than they do on making the world a better place. You want to steer clear of those, and concentrate on charities that actually do what they say they do. That means research.
What are the best kinds of charities to leave money to? What are some signs an organization will put your money to good use? This helpful page will lay out exactly what to look for when choosing a charity to bequeath a legacy to.
Let's put these guidelines to the test using Charity Navigator, a great site for looking at how charitable organizations stack up. Remember: whichever charity you choose, it must have financial strength to weather hard times, and a culture that encourages accountability and transparency. For example, on May 1, 2017, Charity Navigator scored Glaucoma Research Foundation as follows:2
GRF earned these scores with powerful financials and strict accountability. Here are the numbers based on the fiscal year ending June of 2016 (the latest available).
|Program Service Revenue:||$363,400|
|Total Primary Revenue:||$3,484,739|
|Total Functional Expenses:||$3,820,169|
|Payments to Affiliates:||$0|
|Excess (or Deficit) for the Year:||$261,284|
|CEO Salary (Thomas M. Brunner):||$219,953|
This is an illustration of an open, accountable, and transparent charity. Instead of using funding for internal upkeep or advertising, the majority of contributions go directly toward the organization's mission. In GRF's case, that mission is preventing vision loss from glaucoma by investing in innovative research, education, and community support with the ultimate goal of finding a cure to the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.
Now that you have an understanding of what to look for when choosing a charity to bequeath money to, it's time for the search to begin. Don't be afraid to ask for answers to tough questions or for more information. You want to be sure your money is going to help change the world, and the right charity will be happy to help you do just that. Explore our interactive planning tools to learn more about estate planning.GIVE TODAY
Last reviewed on October 26, 2017