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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Christmas In July : How To : Is it a real real nonprofit ?

While I have been doing this highlighting of nonprofits for a while now I still come across every once in a while a "fake" nonprofit meaning its a nonprofit with only one goal ...taking your money.

Now in my utopian point of view I think a nonprofit that has a mission or purpose to take your money to serve others. Hence, I have issues with the Go Fund Me and ilk because its great to make awesome Potato Salad but 5000 gallons and copying the recipe 23000 times for a $5 sponsorship; isn't what a nonprofit should be about in my humble opinion.

Yet, did you know many membership organizations from neighborhoods to watch dogs promote themselves as being nonprofit ...even the KKK at one point had an nonprofit arm.

So what is a real real nonprofit ? You have to check and do a lot of research. I probably spent about 80 to 100 hours looking up nonprofits from the IRS to actually calling the nonprofit.

One thing is there is different levels of nonprofit from a common 501(c)3 to what is a basically a political action committee (PAC).

A PAC can do good too as we have witness recently with historic court cases and other social justice landmarks.

Yet, my brain was burnt out one weekend because I was looking up nonprofits that had worldwide reach like WWF or Red Cross and I found myself hitting a lot of walls because some very, very small nonprofits claimed to have worldwide impact had only generated revenue to cover their overhead costs and not much else.

Remember those critical thinking skills you learned in English and Social Science class as a teenager...use those when you are donating money to a nonprofit. If you think its okay to give $25 away and not think about it - great but how many times do you do that?

One year I gave a what I thought was a nonprofit over $300 only to find out ...they were not a nonprofit, they operated for the greater good but as a for profit sanctuary. Its a hard lesson to learn when you think you are helping someone make a difference and in the end just because you didn't take the extra couple of minutes to validate the nonprofit you end up losing money to unscrupulous people.

Just how much should you give? That is up to you but, I ask for $25 because its just enough to make a drop into a shallow bucket of water spread a little further.


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