Charitable Donations to Help People in Africa
Many generous, kind-hearted people want to help improve the lives of people in Africa. They are moved by the media reports showing poverty, disease, and violence. They may not realize that plenty of unscrupulous actors out there are eager to take your donations under the guise of helping African people.
As a charitable giver, you need to make sure your donations will go to recipients who need it, rather than a corrupt government or sham charity. The best way to do that is to find one or two reputable charities that will make sure your donation gets to the people who need it.
Tips for Making Sure the African Charity Deserves Your Support
When you want to donate money or goods to an African charity, make sure your donations will go to a worthy group. Don’t be taken in by photos of starving children. Do a little homework. Look for a charity that has established an essential presence on the continent with a proven record of success on its mission.
Below are things you should look into before you send your money or other donations to any African charity:
1. Visit the charity’s website. Check the group’s website for information about its mission, a list of the board of directors, and its latest financial reports. If the charity does not have that information posted on its website, the problem may be that the charity is not transparent and you probably do not want to donate your money to it. Find out if the charity is supported through partnerships with other reputable organizations.
2. Evaluate the charity’s mission statement. The mission statement should clearly articulate what the charity wants to accomplish. Make sure the charity’s work is consistent with its mission statement. Ideally, you will want to donate to a charity that spends at least 65 percent of their total expenses on their charitable mission and no more than 35 percent of their contributions on fundraising.
3. Review the charity’s use of the donations. Among the most important documents you should look for is IRS form 990 or 990EZ. Charities that have total revenue of more than $50,000 are required to file these forms unless the charity is a house of worship. These tax forms provide important information about how much money the charity raises and how it spends its money. You also can find form 990s at the charity information site GuideStar (free registration required).
4. Find a charity whose mission interests you. If you focus on a project area that especially interests you, finding a worthy charity will be an easier job. Once you identify a project area, you can concentrate on the charities that focus on that mission. If a Christian missionary purpose interests you consider a charity that is trying to end the water crisis and bring the Gospel to the West African country of Liberia. An example of that is The Last Well. Their ministry and business partners in the U.S. and Liberia are a major reason why they are each day moving closer to achieving their goal to end Liberia’s water crisis and share the Gospel with every Liberian we serve by the year 2020.
5. Research the charity’s accreditation. Determine if the charity is accredited by reliable philanthropic accrediting associations. A charity like The Last Well is certified transparent and accredited by a number of important accrediting associations.
6. Learn the story behind the charity’s origin. Find a charity whose origin touches your heart. A perfect example is The Last Well. It was created in 2008 by Christian young adults at a church in Washington D.C. They were inspired by the movie, “Amazing Grace” that chronicled the life of William Wilberforce, who is credited with ending the slave trade in England. Together, these young adults decided to try to provide an African nation with access to safe drinking water and the good news of Jesus Christ. Since 2008, The Last Well has reached over 1.7 million Liberians with safe-drinking water and access to the gospel.
7. Work with a charity that works with many partners. Successful charities like The Last Well leverage their fundraising efforts through numerous business and religious partners in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Several of The Last Well partners provide matching grants and sponsor cost sharing programs. They have field teams that drill water wells, share the Gospel and connect villagers to local or regional churches.
Contact The Last Well for More Information
The Last Well brings clean water and good news to the nation of Liberia. Your donations can help keep its important work alive. Please speak to the missionaries at The Last Well for more information about its mission and how you can donate.