“If I had a million dollars…”
Wasn’t that a Barenaked Ladies song from years ago? I’m pretty sure that cd is resting in the massive pile which sits next to my desk, just waiting for me to download onto my ipod. But, that’s a whole different story! I don’t want to bore you!
So, what would you do with a ‘spare’ million? I’m betting many of you would donate to Epilepsy causes, research and assistance programs.
Since most of us don’t have that kind of money just laying around, how do we distribute the funds that we can donate? It seems as if there are SO many organizations, benefits, foundations that center on Epilepsy, cropping up all around the web. And, if you’re like me, everything has a certain appeal.
First, you must determine what is legitimate. You can ask a few simple questions, and DON’T be afraid to question the legitimacy of something! Merely because a group has a website or a Facebook page, it doesn’t mean that the funds will go directly to the cause you’re interested in. Where will the funds go? How much of your donation will actually be spent on programs and assistance? Is this information public? Ask to see the organization’s Form 990 or Annual Report. What is the history of the organization? I’m heavily involved with the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, an organization that recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. I know exactly where their funds go, and I’ve witnessed some of the amazing programs like Camp Discovery, conferences, EEG programs, etc.
I spoke to a virtual friend yesterday who has a very simple formula. “I have a yearly budget, and I am modest in my donations,” she said. “If I can give 10 dollars to a start-up organization that is a true not-for-profit, I feel great, but I also have my ‘regulars’ that I donate to each year. And, the key is, I never feel guilty about saying no, but more than anything, I must believe in their mission.”
That got me thinking…and typing. I composed my list this morning, and I’m now determined. I will donate to the organizations that appeal to me, after first checking on their validity, making sure I support their mission, and understand their goals.
So…what are your chosen Epilepsy organizations? Feel free to leave me a comment or post something to the Brainthunders Facebook page. I want to compile a list and make sure it’s posted on our Resource page. And, your thoughts and positions might very well help others!
MSNBC.com has some very good tips on choosing a charity in a 2006 post.