Do you want to donate to an eco-friendly charity? Here are the key things to look for to ensure it’s trustworthy and go to a legitimate sustainable cause.
Whether you’re interested in donating to an environmental cause or want to host a fundraiser for an eco-friendly charity, it’s crucial to know how to identify a legitimate organization. This isn’t always the most straightforward task, as some bad “charity” players have found ways to scam donors. Here’s how to identify eco-friendly charities for donation.
What Is Green Giving?
Donors may give money, goods or services to help green charities move their work forward. According to a 2022 report by Giving USA, Americans provided $484.85 billion in charitable donations in 2021, with green giving amounting to $16.32 billion — up 11% from 2020 and equal to 3% of total giving.
Eco-friendly charities raise awareness and resolve today’s most pressing environmental problems. However, their efforts are only possible with donations to reach their goals. For donors, green giving is an opportunity to see their contribution positively change people’s lives while protecting the environment — for instance, a charity or organization might focus on cleaning up a waterway that provides clean drinking water to the local community.
4 Ways to Identify Green Charities for Donation
You may be passionate about a specific environmental cause and eager to donate or get involved. However, it’s best to practice due diligence and ensure you contribute to charities achieving genuine results. Here are four ways to guarantee you’re donating to a reputable, eco-friendly charity.
Determine How They Use Funds
Once you’ve found an eco-friendly organization to donate to, you’ll want to know how they use donations. For instance, what areas of the environment do they focus on? Are they asking for assistance with research, clean-up events or political advocacy? Consider donating if your values align with the charity’s mission and you’re satisfied with how they’ll use your dollars.
Look at Their Track Record
A successful eco-friendly charity will maintain an impressive record of achievements. Often, charities list special projects, awards and case studies on their websites to highlight their accomplishments.
Maybe the charity has successfully planted trees to offset carbon emissions in the community or restored native habitats for local wildlife. You’ll always want to ensure the charity you intend to give to is actively working toward its goals.
Check Charity’s Rating and Registration
The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Fraud Advisory Panels says charities lose 5% of their revenue annually due to fraud, including cyber attacks on organizations, donors and beneficiaries. In fact, the IRS included fake charities in its “Dirty Dozen” tax scams in 2022. When identifying eco-friendly charities, donors should check the organization’s rating and registration before contributing.
Inquire about the charity’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) — which demonstrates they’re a registered public 501(c)(3) organization — and look them up in a database like Charity Navigator or the IRS website. If they don’t have an EIN, don’t donate. Registered 501(c)(3) charities are exempt from federal income tax in which none of their earnings are for private individuals or shareholder interests.
Research the Organization Online
Research different organizations online to identify an eco-friendly charity to support. If you have a specific organization in mind, search its name alongside terms like “complaint,” “review,” or “scam.”
If you’re unsure where to start your search, simply looking up phrases like “best watershed charity” or “highly-rated wildlife charity” is an excellent place to start. You can also search for their social media accounts to read through posts and comments, determine their outreach and read feedback.
Donate to Charities to Help the Environment
Donating to eco-friendly charities is an effective way to give back to the environment. However, you must select a reputable charity to contribute to. Avoid rushing to donate and spend time researching eco-friendly charities first. You’ll want to ensure your gift goes a long way toward helping the charity live out its environmental mission.