15 Ways to Ensure Your Donated Dollars Will Make a Difference

Pointers and tools that help you donate your money with passion and confidence.

oxfam photoPhoto (cc) by Oxfam East Africa

Look to Guidestar for facts

When deciding which of the 1.8 million IRS-recognized charities or the thousands more faith-based groups will get your money, many donors start their homework with Guidestar, which provides free access to IRS Forms 990, annual reports, and listings of executives and board members. (Registration required, premium services available.)

A Form 990 for Oxfam America, for example, shows the group received $66.6 million in donations in 2013. The group says it has helped 20.7 million people globally to end poverty and fight injustice through disaster relief and advocacy programs.

In 2013, 79 percent of our expenditures went directly to program support. At least 90 percent of funds designated by individual donors for humanitarian emergencies directly support our responses for those emergencies.

Oxfam International recently was in the news for its report that the richest 1 percent of people in the world own 48 percent of the world’s wealth and may soon own more than half.

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