Helping Organizations Adapt to a Changing Environment

As the founder of two animal health and supplement companies, PF Inc. and PSPC Inc., Mark Pieloch has made it his mission to help animals live healthy, pain-free lives. Away from the commercial arena, he makes it a point to do more.

The entrepreneur’s $1.5 million donation to the Capital Humane Society in Lincoln, Nebraska, paved the way for the new adoption center. His generous gift to the Central Florida Animal Reserve helped the big cat sanctuary quickly repair damage from a severe windstorm. Animal and community welfare organizations face challenges every day. People like Pieloch make a difference, and so can you.

Choosing a Worthy Charity

Helping the less fortunate and stepping in when there is a need is an essential part of being human. Volunteering and donating to charitable organizations promote a sense of well-being and overall satisfaction. Millions of dollars are donated to charities every year. Before making a monetary donation, however, it’s wise to check the validity of the organization and see exactly how much money reaches its intended target.

According to Charity Navigator, a charity watchdog group, administrative costs of running a charity often far outweigh the amount given to the charity’s stated cause. Some charities are outright scams, using names similar to the long-established charitable foundations to confuse potential donors. Before giving money, it pays to learn more.

Spotting a Poorly Run Charity

There are a number of red flags to watch out for before donating money to an unfamiliar charity. Ask to see the group’s financial records. Red flags include spending excessively on fundraising events compared to money spent providing programs; a CEO with an excessively large salary; and large sums in reserve not being used. Research the background and validity of the charity in question. Every legitimate charitable organization in the United States has a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. Confirm a charity’s tax-exempt status before giving.

Unsolicited calls from charities are very often scams. High-pressure tactics, claims of past donations and sound-alike names trick millions into giving money to scams each year. The elderly are frequent targets of this type of attack. Even when such calls are not scams, it may mean the charity is spending money hiring professional telemarketers. Anytime a solicitor calls and asks for a donation, ask that financial records be mailed to you so you can research before giving. Do not donate over the phone. If someone is using high-pressure tactics, hang up.

Giving directly to a community organization, like Mark Pieloch often does, generally ensures that the money goes to the project at hand. Many charities give donors a choice about where their donations go. Designating to a specific purpose ensures that the money doesn’t end up in a general fund that may go toward someone’s salary.

Research shows that Americans are the most giving people in the world when it comes to charitable donations. Monetary donations are vital to the growth and success of many wonderful organizations. Giving wisely ensures that the money goes where it is most needed.