Determining if a non-profit is credible - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Determining if a non-profit is credible

Posted: Updated:

This time of year people reflect on their own blessings, and look for ways to share with those less fortunate. With more than 8,000 non-profit organizations in Alabama, there is no shortage of worthy causes. But how does a person determine if a nonprofit is trustworthy?

There are checks and balances out there to make sure non-profit organizations are operating. The takeaway to consumers is check it out before writing a check.

"Supporting non profits and their missions really is an individual donor choice. And what I think it's analogous to is making any sort of investment," said Billy Baxter, Executive Officer at the Alabama Association of NonProfits.

The organization supports non-profits in Alabama by providing management and organizational training. Baxter says a little research can go a long way when it comes to determining the trustworthiness of an organization.

"Whether you Google things, whether you talk to neighbor who knows about the organization, that sort of research pays off in terms of getting the biggest bang for your buck," said Baxter.

Beyond Google and word of mouth, Baxter says a growing trend is for organizations to establish credibility by participating in what he calls "outside evaluations". The Alabama Association of NonProfits offers one.

"The standards for excellence program. Where these instructors take an organization through the paces and make sure that they have all of the things in order that they should. Financial controls. Human resources policies, good program management for example," said Baxter.

Baxter says there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to determining trustworthiness. However, there are some qualities to consider. One is longevity.

"One of the things that might cause a little caution, not necessarily wrong, if it's an organization that just started, particularly if it just started during the holiday season, or if it start up after a disaster when people's emotions are high," said Baxter.

The Jimmie Hale Mission is one example of an organization that has been around since 1944. The Mission's executive director Tony Cooper says it's something that makes them worthy of consideration for the public's support.

"We're coming up on our 70th anniversary, so number one we've been around for a long time. Now that doesn't make you an expert but it helps. The fact that you;ve been a around for a long time and people have trusted you for all these years is one check mark that can be checked off," said Cooper.

Also, ask if the organization has an open-door policy. Stop by for a visit and ask yourself if it's a place where you would want to volunteer.

"We encourage people to come visit and come look around. We have the 'I had no idea' tours. So just coming and looking around and seeing the work that's going on," said Cooper.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important, check the organization's financial records. Overhead spending is the ongoing expense it takes to operate an organization. Furthermore, financial records submitted to the internal revenue service are public record.

At the Jimmie Hale Mission, not only do they have copies of their IRS 990 form on hand, they also provide donors with copies of audits and annual reports online  under the "financial stewardship" page.

Cooper says it's simple. Do right by the community, and the community will return the favor.

"They've worked hard for their money. And when they share out of compassion they want to make sure that the money that they're giving is addressing the needs that the organization says they're going to do with it," said Cooper.

For information on non-profits in your area visit http://www.charitynavigator.org/

 

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

    Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:04:12 GMT
    It's been a quieter night in Ferguson, Missouri. Some demonstrators returned to the streets Wednesday evening to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white officer, but in diminished numbers.More >>
    Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson, where nightly scenes of unrest have erupted since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old nearly...More >>
  • Former Alabama player Ozell Powell shot to death in Greenville; 1 suspect arrested

    Former Alabama player Ozell Powell shot to death in Greenville; 1 suspect arrested

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:46:17 GMT
    Greenville police say they've arrested a man in the slaying of former University of Alabama football player Ozell Powell. Chief Lonzo Ingram says 22-year-old Eric Simmons was arrested early Thursday in the killing of the 40-year-old Powell, who was from Greenville.More >>
    Greenville police say they've arrested a man in the slaying of former University of Alabama football player Ozell Powell. Chief Lonzo Ingram says 22-year-old Eric Simmons was arrested early Thursday in the killing of the 40-year-old Powell, who was from Greenville.
    More >>
  • Alabama judge could avoid prosecution in Atlanta

    Alabama judge could avoid prosecution in Atlanta

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:37 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:37:19 GMT
    An Alabama federal judge could avoid prosecution for domestic violence in Atlanta. Programs help some defendants avoid criminal prosecution, and a defense lawyer says U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is open to such a chance in Fulton County.More >>
    An Alabama federal judge could avoid prosecution for domestic violence in Atlanta. Programs help some defendants avoid criminal prosecution, and a defense lawyer says U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is open to such a chance in Fulton County.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • No easy or cheap solution to ridding Birmingham of abandoned buildings

    No easy or cheap solution to ridding Birmingham of abandoned buildings

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:50:42 GMT
    Birmingham is an older city with a lot of aging properties. Birmingham Fire Marshall C.W. Mardis believes we will continue to see more and more vacant buildings in the next few years. .More >>
    Birmingham is an older city with a lot of aging properties. Birmingham Fire Marshall C.W. Mardis believes we will continue to see more and more vacant buildings in the next few years. .More >>
  • High school football kicks off in extreme heat

    High school football kicks off in extreme heat

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:30:29 GMT
    Temps will be hovering near the triple digit mark through most of the weekend. Football coaches are keeping a close eye on the forecast as the temperature will still be in the upper 90's by kickoff Friday night at 7 p.m.More >>
    Temps will be hovering near the triple digit mark through most of the weekend. Football coaches are keeping a close eye on the forecast as the temperature will still be in the upper 90's by kickoff Friday night at 7 p.m.
    More >>
  • Ebola: Care and recovery of 2 American aid workers

    Ebola: Care and recovery of 2 American aid workers

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:24 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:24:54 GMT
    Two American aid workers have recovered from Ebola and left an Atlanta hospital, after weeks of intensive treatment in a special isolation unit.More >>
    Two American aid workers have recovered from Ebola and left an Atlanta hospital, after weeks of intensive treatment in a special isolation unit.More >>
  • American Ebola doc: 'I am thrilled to be alive'

    American Ebola doc: 'I am thrilled to be alive'

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:16 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:16:55 GMT
    The Atlanta hospital where two American aid workers were brought after getting infected with the Ebola virus will hold a news conference to discuss their discharge.More >>
    Calling it a "miraculous day," an American doctor infected with Ebola left his isolation unit and warmly hugged his doctors and nurses on Thursday, showing the world that he poses no public health threat one month after...More >>
  • Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

    Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:04:12 GMT
    It's been a quieter night in Ferguson, Missouri. Some demonstrators returned to the streets Wednesday evening to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white officer, but in diminished numbers.More >>
    Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson, where nightly scenes of unrest have erupted since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old nearly...More >>
  • Alabama's Nick Saban, Landon Collins named to 2014 Playboy All America Team

    Alabama's Nick Saban, Landon Collins named to 2014 Playboy All America Team

    Thursday, August 21 2014 4:13 PM EDT2014-08-21 20:13:08 GMT
    Playboy Magazine released its annual Pigskin Preview Wednesday including its preseason Top 10 college football teams in the country and 2014 All America Team.Alabama is ranked No. 4, three spots behind top-ranked Florida State and four spots ahead of rival Auburn. The Crimson Tide's Nick Saban was pegged as Playboy's preseason Coach of the Year, and safety Landon Collins was one of four defensive backs selected to the All America Team.Playboy Preseason Top 10No. 1 FSUNo. 2 OregonNo. 3 Ohio St...More >>
    Playboy Magazine released its annual Pigskin Preview Wednesday including its preseason Top 10 college football teams in the country and 2014 All America Team.Alabama is ranked No. 4, three spots behind top-ranked Florida State and four spots ahead of rival Auburn. The Crimson Tide's Nick Saban was pegged as Playboy's preseason Coach of the Year, and safety Landon Collins was one of four defensive backs selected to the All America Team.Playboy Preseason Top 10No. 1 FSUNo. 2 OregonNo. 3 Ohio St...More >>
  • Former Alabama player Ozell Powell shot to death in Greenville; 1 suspect arrested

    Former Alabama player Ozell Powell shot to death in Greenville; 1 suspect arrested

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:46:17 GMT
    Greenville police say they've arrested a man in the slaying of former University of Alabama football player Ozell Powell. Chief Lonzo Ingram says 22-year-old Eric Simmons was arrested early Thursday in the killing of the 40-year-old Powell, who was from Greenville.More >>
    Greenville police say they've arrested a man in the slaying of former University of Alabama football player Ozell Powell. Chief Lonzo Ingram says 22-year-old Eric Simmons was arrested early Thursday in the killing of the 40-year-old Powell, who was from Greenville.
    More >>
  • Alabama judge could avoid prosecution in Atlanta

    Alabama judge could avoid prosecution in Atlanta

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:37 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:37:19 GMT
    An Alabama federal judge could avoid prosecution for domestic violence in Atlanta. Programs help some defendants avoid criminal prosecution, and a defense lawyer says U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is open to such a chance in Fulton County.More >>
    An Alabama federal judge could avoid prosecution for domestic violence in Atlanta. Programs help some defendants avoid criminal prosecution, and a defense lawyer says U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is open to such a chance in Fulton County.More >>