Charity in India has gained widespread recognition in the past few decades. In fact, donating money is a satisfying experience in more ways than one. Unfortunately not many people are aware of these advantages and hence are not able to reap the benefits. Alternatively they might be donating to spurious agencies and hence are not able to claim any benefits from the donations that they make. There is also no way of knowing whether these people are actually utilising the money for the purpose that they have been given.
Thus in order to ensure that donations made for charity actually reach the people for whom it is meant, it is necessary for the donors to check for the authenticity of the charities that they support. This can be done by:
- Government funding: Before getting attached to a charitable organisation or an NGO, it is important to verify their source of funding. The easiest to verify is the government funding that they receive since this comes under the aegis of the RTI act. A genuine agency will be ever willing to furnish:
- Details of the government funding received and
- The way in which they have been utilised so that no donation under sec 35ac goes in vain.
- Checking for blacklisted NGOs: This can be done with the help of CAPART which works diligently to ensure that they have an updated list of blacklisted NGOs available on the internet. The CAF or Charities Aid Foundation of India has been entrusted with the work of checking and certifying the credibility of NGOs in India. Though there is no legal mandate making this certification a necessity, most authentic NGOs and charitable organisations prefer to obtain the same. “Credibility Alliance” and “Give India” are other charitable organisations which keep an updated list of genuine NGOs and the type of work that they do. Thus by checking on their website, a potential donor can get connected with an authentic charitable organisation and avail benefits for donation under 80g.
- Verification of their registration: The certificate of registration and the cause that they support along with their tax exemption certificate should be absolutely verified before offering support in any form. Personally going for a visit to the charitable organisation helps to make a person understand the mode of operation for the organisation.
- Annual reports: Every NGO or charitable organisation needs to get an audit done in order to avail donation tax exemption. Thus they have to keep their annual reports ready and at hand. Asking for the same and going through it will provide ample proof of the spending patterns of the NGO as well as their work process.
- Method of payment: This is a very valid point by which the authenticity of a charitable organisation can be easily verified. In fact opting for payment either by issuing crossed cheques or using donate online facilities like NEFT, RTGS, IMPS etc., is perhaps the easiest way to verify an organisation’s genuineness. In fact care should also be taken to ensure that payment is made directly to the concerned NGO and not a DSA or direct selling agent who earn commissions basis the collections raised by them.
Once the verification of the agency is done, it is easy to get involved in the work that they carry out and help satisfy the urge to do give back some of what you receive to the society.