GREENSBORO, NC -- When 2WTK tells you you need to check out a charity before you give, you're probably thinking it's going to be complicated.
Nope. Charity Navigator is one of the best resources to use. They dig into each charity's financials and rates them. All you do is type in the charity's name. We used Greensboro Urban Ministry as an example.
You'll see an overall score and rating and a financial rating and a rating for accountability and transparency..
There are all kinds of numbers to look at, BUT the easiest thing to do is look at the circle chart breakdown of how much they spend on programs, administration and fundraising.
The most efficient charities spend at least 75% on programs. Charity Navigator doesn't rate religious charities like the Salvation Army because they don't fill out an IRS 990. But what you should do in that situation is go on the charity site and look for their financial breakdown. We've shown you the Salvation Army's as an example. If a charity you want to give to doesn't offer their financial information, beware.
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance also helps you check out a charity.