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Post Episode 25: How to check charities before you donate

In the season of giving, some charities that may not be doing what they advertise end up cashing in on generosity. A consumer investigator gives tips on checking non-profits before you donate.

Originally Published: November 24, 2021

COLUMBIA, Missouri – In Episode 25, investigations into charities and non-profit organizations are highlighted – from scammers popping up fake Facebook fundraisers to families claiming a charity for service dogs didn’t deliver what it promised.

Consumer Investigative Reporter Ashley Reynolds from Gray Television affiliate KY3 in Springfield, Missouri joins Post to give her best tips for checking into charities before you donate hard-earned money.

Charity Navigator and Give.Org are her favorite resources for checking various organizations to see things such as how much money goes to causes and how much money people employed by the organizations make.

“I like to see how much money the board members make. I like to see how much the CEO makes and then compare it to the overall budget,” Reynolds said.

She also said it’s good to look into how successful fundraisers have been for charities and where donations actually go. Once people find that information, they can be shocked.

“Most of us have good hearts. We want to do the right thing. We want to help other people,” Reynolds said.

One other tip from Reynolds: If a charity was started in the last couple of years, its documents may not be online. She said in that case, you should feel empowered to ask for their financial information directly before making a donation.

“Any charity should have that information readily available. And the thing that you want to keep in mind is that most legitimate charities want to share this information because they do want your money and they want to be transparent. Most charities are proud of how they are spending donor dollars, and they want to put that information right up front,” Reynolds said.

Links to stories discussed in Episode 25:

Post is a media review program from InvestigateTV, Gray Television’s streaming channel dedicated to in-depth and watchdog reporting. Post is presented in partnership with the journalism organization Investigative Reporters and Editors. The monthly program is taped at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, a partner of InvestigateTV.

Episode written and produced by: Jamie Grey, InvestigateTV

Production by: Director Travis McMillen, RJI, production assistant Jeb Goldman, RJI, and production assistant Cory Johnson, InvestigateTV

Editing by: Owen Hornstein and Jamie Grey, InvestigateTV