You work hard, spend frugally and want to know that the hard earned money you give to community groups, charities; is being well used. How do you know it’s being wisely used?

Sure, you might get a regular update from the organisation, perhaps an update with any receipt you use, but is this an accurate picture of how your hard earned money is being used?

I’ve seen organisations that raise significant sums from the public, yet have little to show where this money is used.

Yes, they are meeting the terms of their constitution, they are doing the work, yet if asked to provide more services, resources or the like, they are unable to do so as they don’t have the financial resources to do more than they are doing.

There are still organisations working in the sector who have exorbitant overheads, who raise funds from you and me, but with their overheads can’t provide the services they are established to provide.

Who’s at fault, is there a fault, should there be tighter rules around reporting income and expenditure?

Perhaps yes, but what can we, donors, do to ensure we are giving to organisations that will use our support wisely.

I guess it comes down to trust, we have to trust that what they are telling us is kosher, that they are doing the best they can, that they are using our support wisely.

But, we also owe it to ourselves to check that what they are saying can be substantiated.

How can we do this? I guess we would go through the financial statements they file with Charity Services, with a fine tooth comb. We could (and should) be asking friends, family etc what their impression is of the organisation.

As with all community groups, we need to trust that what they are telling us is 100% kosher, if it’s not then we should voice our concerns and perhaps walk away and support an organisation we know we can trust.

Have you any doubts about organisations you have or do support, what have to done about it?

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