Donating to your favorite cause can give you a good feeling, while also helping those who are less fortunate. However, if you don’t take the time to research the organizations that receive the money you donate, you may not be doing as much good as you assume. Here are a few steps you can take to donate more wisely and ensure your donations are going further.

Check Out Each Organization

There are dozens of methods for making a scam seem like a legitimate charity, and it’s easy for anyone to become a victim of such criminal enterprises. You can avoid losing your donation to scammers by checking out any organization you plan to help. Sites like Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and help people research the organizations that claim to be reputable charities. Check with one of these sites before sending money to any charity.

Make Sure the Charity is Actually Helping

The majority of your donation should not be spent on an organization’s administrative expenses. If this is the case, they’re not doing enough to improve the cause for which they’re working. Any charitable organization should be using a minimum of 65% of each donation to help their cause, although the better charities do much better. In addition to checking each organization’s social media pages to see what they do, you can check with BBB Wise Giving Alliance to get a more exact assessment of any organization’s financials.

Avoid Telephone Donations

Unless you directly call a charitable organization and you have confirmed their number, you should avoid discussing your donations altogether when on the phone. Many scam artists will buy email or phone lists for people who have donated to charities in the past. They will use this information to call you and ask for donations in a charity’s name. Unfortunately, these people are only playing your emotions to scam you out of money.

You can also make your donation matter more by choosing the right cause. Your contributions to any charitable organization will mean more to you if you’re donating to a cause with which you hold a personal attachment. Whether the cause is related to some experience you’ve personally had or it’s just something that deeply concerns you, it’s always better to choose a cause with which you feel an emotional connection.