Standards That Should Be Met

When providing financial support to any organization

  1. The organization should be legally incorporated.
  2. The organization should have an approved 501 C 3 status (non profit) by the IRS.
  3. Items to be provided by the organization to which you are providing funding:
    • Is there a mission statement:  goals and purposes of the organization?
    • A clear statement of the purpose for the financial gift that they are requesting funds to support?
    • Is there a clear statement of oversight for the project you are supporting?
    • How often will updates on the project be provided to the donors?
    • Will you be provided with the annual audit report of the organization?  The audit should be done by an outside auditing firm, not employees of the organization.
    • What percentage of the organization’s total receipts are used for administration costs; such as program expenses, administration expenses, fund raising expenses, etc.  It is also important to know the organizations fund raising efficiency ranking (the percentage of expenses for fund raising).  [See:   www.charitynavigator.org or www.clsnet.org/society/finances or www.charitywatch.org]
    • If supporting an ongoing project (from year to year), is the project updated or a new project description provided?
  4. Transparency should be evident in everything that the organization you are providing funding for, does.  If they seem reluctant to your inquiries or say they haven't had time to provide the needed information, be suspicious.  Do not allow any organization to say or hint to you, "We are a Christian organization, so trust us!"
Written by:  
Pastor David P. Lerseth,
President, Friends of Madagascar Mission (FOMM)  
March, 2010