• Bob Brooks

How Do You Know If a Non-Profit/Ministry Is Legit?

I will be the first to admit that I am cynical at times. In almost 15 1/2 years of radio, I have come across non-profits of all kinds. Some are legitimate non-profit ministries with a mission. Some are just about raising the money, which begs the question – is this benefiting the organizer of the non-profit or truly being put into ministry? You don’t want to give to a ministry only to discover you are funding a 5,000-square foot home and expensive cars.

I think that it is important to be prudent and prayerful when deciding where to allocate God’s money. It is important to give to ministries. There are many ministries who are doing some great work. You just have to do your homework.

A friend of mine sent some great information to consider when evaluating a non-profit. *Please know that these are not mine and unfortunately, I cannot find the source to properly give the author credit.

Real charities will always be happy to take your money a couple of days or even a couple of weeks after they first make contact with you, so take time to do your research. High pressure appeals that claim a need is “urgent” are often a warning sign of a scam.

Take time to ask the following questions before you donate:

note: Some of these questions are worthy of asking your church.

  • What is the charity’s exact name? Scam artists often use names that sound familiar to reputable charitable organizations in order to solicit donations.

  • Is the charity registered with the Secretary of State’s Office? If so, what is their registration number?

  • Does the charity operate nationally? If so, what is the address of its national offices?

  • Does it operate locally or have a local center? If so, what is the address of its local office?

  • How much of my donation will go to charitable activities?

  • How much of my donation will go to administrative expenses?

  • Is the call being made by a professional solicitor? If so, what percent of the donation will they receive and are they registered with the Secretary of State’s Office? What is their registration number?

  • Is my donation tax deductible, i.e. can I deduct it from my own federal income tax return?

My addition to this list of questions – Are you being promised that God will bless you financially if you give to a particular ministry? There is a lot of that on late night Christian channels. To me, that is a red flag. The purpose of giving is not so that you are blessed financially.

Ask to be sent financial statements from the organization to determine who will benefit from your donation.

If you are purchasing a product that supports a charitable organization, always ask what percentage of the amount you spend will actually support the charity. If it is a product you do not want or need, you might be able to better help the charity by donating directly.

Search the charity on-line. Check for complaints filed by other consumers. To be fair, people are more apt to post something negative than positive. You are looking for a great deal of complaints all echoing about the same thing.

Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints about the charity or search for the charity online at

We would like to think that all non-profits are legit especially Christian ministries. Unfortunately, just like anything else, there are the ones who abuse the system.

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