Charity Transparency

Hey Ambassadorista!

My class recently decided to do a fundraising drive for an organization that gives free healthcare to the poor in developing countries. I’m excited about helping, but to be totally honest, I don’t really like fundraising, because I feel uncomfortable asking people for money, and I don’t like not knowing exactly how the money I raise is being used. It’s hard in some ways to know if that money that you raise is actually going to help anyone. What do you think about all this?

Well, hello there, inquisitive Ambassador!

This is a great question, and it applies to more than just school fundraisers. While charities are out there everyday, collecting what they can for the people they serve, we often see a spike in donations when tragedy strikes. Whether it’s a natural disaster (like Hurricane Matthew), or a man made one (like the Pulse nightclub shooting), being confronted with images of tragedy on a 24/7 basis prompts people to reach into their wallets.

And that’s wonderful!

Downtown Port au Prince, Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. Photograph: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi
Downtown Port au Prince, Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. Photograph: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

But – you’re right to be concerned, and that concern isn’t unfounded. The first thing an Everyday Ambassador has to do before rushing to donate is RESEARCH! There are all kinds of charities out there on the world wide web, just itching for your donation, but we must be diligent in our investigations of which organizations are doing the most with what they get from their contributors.

That’s where organizations like the Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and Give Well have your back.


They break down charities based on aspects such as their efficiency with proceeds, their track records with making a lasting difference, and their overall transparency. They do the leg work so that we can take an in depth look at places before donating our money and/or time.

So before you impulse donate, make sure you know exactly where and how your time and money will be spent.

The greater the impact, the more efficient your donation becomes!


“Ask the Ambassadorista” is an advice column brought to you by Everyday Ambassador, answering all your questions about making a difference at home or abroad. Reach out with all of your questions using the hashtag #AskAmbassadorista, or drop her a line using the form below:

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