How to Evaluate an NGO Before Making a Donation?

How to Evaluate an NGO Before Making a Donation

A good act never goes to waste. However, to ensure that your noble gesture benefits the needy, you need to donate money, so that the NGO can carry out the good deed on your behalf.

The NGOs take up important social responsibilities for the well-being of the underprivileged sections of the society and deal with social and environmental issues as well. 

What is an NGO?

To put it simply, an NGO is a Non-Governmental Organization involved in providing certain services either to its members or to the community.

NGOs are mainly involved in providing charitable or philanthropic services to people from underprivileged backgrounds or those with special needs. 

NGOs mainly receive funds from charitable trusts, philanthropic bodies, individuals, and sometimes, the government.

A study has revealed that NGOs enjoy a high degree of public trust and can influence policy decisions to a great extent. 

Today, NGOs are involved in a wide range of activities, including environmental activism, wildlife and animal rights, spiritualism, rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and the welfare of urban and rural poor.

NGOs may rely on both paid staff members as well as volunteers to carry out humanitarian work. Several NGOs enjoy considerable clout in influencing public opinion.

However, the funding of an NGO has come under question in recent times, with critics saying that too much dependence on governmental charity or corporate funds may diminish the ability of NGOs to function effectively.

How does an NGO work?

The activities of an NGO can be roughly divided as:-

Operational

An NGO may directly provide certain goods and services to people from underprivileged backgrounds by sending field workers and actively working with disenfranchised groups and individuals.

For instance, NGOs dealing with natural disasters may go to a place struck by such a disaster, and help out the residents with food, clothes, and medicines.

Charitable organizations taking care of the wellbeing of old or poor people may directly provide free goods and services to such groups.

Therefore, in such cases, the functions of an NGO are operational, as opposed to being campaign-oriented.

Campaign Oriented

NGOs may also primarily be campaign-oriented. The main purpose of campaigning NGOs is to advocate, raise awareness, build consciousness of people, and influence policy decisions through them.

They may hold campaigns, demonstrations, and debates, making people aware of the unjust rules and practices of the society. These organizations heavily depend on media coverage to survive and sustain.

They primarily deal with social issues such as environmental pollution, rights of the poor and minorities, and the welfare of animals.

Combined

Certain NGOs may do both operations and campaign-oriented jobs. They will primarily focus on providing goods and services to needy people, and will also try to bring about a positive social change by affecting the policy decisions of the government.

For example, an NGO like Greenpeace will not only advocate environmental protection but also carry out several field projects to ensure that policy changes are made in the green laws of a country.

Lobbying

One final method of the functioning of an NGO is through lobbying. Several NGOs enjoy considerable political clout and will ensure that their voices are heard while government policies are being made.

Why does an NGO Require Donation?

An NGO requires money to take care of its overhead costs, provide social services to the needy, and provide for campaigns and publicity costs. 

However, the funding of NGOs has come under the scanner in recent times. Some say that NGOs should be entirely independent. This is because if a charitable organization depends on a government or a corporate body, then it can never be vocal in the required manner.

The NGO might have to compromise on its principles to seek donations. There are, however, some ways in which an NGO can still maintain its independence, despite seeking donations:

  • Religious organizations, which are free from governmental influence, can donate money to an NGO, helping it become both financially secure and ethically independent, or they can form their own NGO. 
  • Philanthropic individuals can also help in donating money to NGOs. Throughout the world, some of the richest people have donated money to NGOs, thus helping them to carry out their activities effectively.

What to Check in an NGO before Donating?

If you want to help an NGO by donating funds, but are unsure how to go about it, here are a few things that you should keep in mind while donating:

  • Look at the charitable organization or NGO’s mission statement and try to determine whether it is an important organization. Mission statements reveal a lot about NGOs. While they lay down the details of their activities, they also explain the importance of their work. This is an easy way to understand what an NGO is doing and how significant is its work to the world.
  • Try to analyze the outcomes of the work done by the NGO. Charitable organizations may dabble in a lot of projects. But, they must ensure that they make an impactful contribution to the projects they undertake. The efficacy of an NGO is therefore judged by the success of their projects.
  • Check if the NGO in question is registered with the government. There have been reports of fraudulent activities being carried out by spurious organizations, who call themselves NGOs. Beware of them. You must ensure that your money goes into safe hands.
  • Check whether the NGO in question provides for a safe payment method or not. This is important because, in recent times, a lot has been written on how rich people turn their unaccounted money into money for which records exist. If you do not want to run into trouble with the enforcement authorities, you should be transparent about your monetary transactions with the NGO. Always make payments through a secure online payment gateway or bank transfer, or write a cheque to ensure that the money is safely transferred from you to the NGO.
  • Also, find out whether your contributions are tax-deductible or not. Several governments across the world make contributions to NGOs tax-free. This is meant to ensure that more and more people indulge in charity.
  • Finally, make sure that the NGO of your choice is transparent and accountable. Several NGOs have been accused of indulging in illegal or questionable activities. Therefore, you must conduct thorough research on the NGO of your choice before you donate money.

What could be Donated to an NGO?

A donation may have many forms. Broadly, NGO donations may be of two kinds: monetary donations and non-monetary donations. Let us take a look at both these aspects carefully:

1. Monetary donation

Many people donate money to NGOs. Perhaps, donating money is the easiest way to help out a charitable organization. Monetary donation may be done in the form of endowments, cash, grants, etc.

Most of the monetary donations are tax-free. So don’t forget to get your tax rebate while filing your tax returns after the submission of necessary documents. 

2. Non-monetary donation

Non-monetary donations involve ideological support to an NGO, doing voluntary services free of cost for a charitable organization, providing goods in kind, and lobbying for NGOs for favourable policy decisions.

These donations are equally important just like monetary donations. This kind of help goes a long way in building a support base for an NGO that helps it in the long run.  

Conclusion

An NGO is a charitable organization dependent on funding from various sources. It is involved in providing goods and services to the underprivileged sections of the society, propagating good values, or furthering an important environmental cause. 

NGOs may depend on the government for funding. But philanthropists and religious organizations may also donate money and other kinds of support to them. Before you donate to an NGO, you must check for the credentials of the organization. 

The organization should be honest and transparent. The donation made should be in the form of a cheque, online transfers through credit or debit cards, or bank transfers, so that records exist. You should also make sure that you apply for a tax rebate as in most countries; you are eligible for tax concessions. 

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is involved in a range of charitable activities. It is the best non-profit NGO in India that works for social welfare.

One of the main aims of ISKCON is to spread the values and teachings of our Vedas. ISKCON Dwarka Delhi is an enchanting place for learning these values and for adding purpose to your life. 

ISKCON temple Dwarka offers spiritual and cultural guidance to people to enhance their quality of life and elevate them to a higher level of consciousness. The temple is also involved in a host of charitable activities, contributing positively to the larger community around us. 

From lifestyle management to dedicated forums for all age groups, ISKCON Dwarka’s long list of charitable activities has helped people immensely to achieve a better quality of life.

Today, as the world fights a deadly pandemic, ISKCON Dwarka has taken upon itself the task of feeding nearly 500,000 (five lakh) people, who have lost their livelihood because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Now, you can be a part of this noble cause by donating money online. 

No contribution is small. By offering just Rs 1,000, you can help provide up to 50 meals a day. The best way to donate is to donate online through a safe and secure payment gateway. Remember, a small effort on your part can make a big difference!