Giving Compass' Take:

• Jeff Greenstein explains how individuals can perform due diligence to ensure their donations are meeting concrete goals.

• How do you measure the impact of your giving? Do you have giving goals?

• Read and understand more about impact-driven philanthropy.

Headlines about disasters often serve as a call to action, prompting huge outpourings from sympathetic and concerned observers. But in the well-intentioned rush to help, the results of this impetuous generosity often miss out on solving the intended problem in the most efficient manner. As the New York Times’ Alina Tugend has written, the results of a widespread urge to give sometimes, unfortunately, counteracts the actual needs of those receiving the misguided but well-meaning help. With the recent surge of aid for victims of disasters in Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean, the need to be sure our efforts are actually helping is as relevant as ever.

The positive emotional benefits of philanthropy are well-documented, but unfortunately, some organizations prey on that noble desire to give and accept credulous donations which end up funding dishonest operations.

Checking the ratings of organizations with groups like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator is a great starting point for ensuring that a charitable group does its due diligence.

Users of these websites can choose from the most trustworthy organizations in a variety of categories and become familiar with their processes. The Justice Department’s Center for Disaster Fraud is another great resource, carrying a highly pertinent warning to avoid unscrupulous groups that crop up in the wake of natural disasters.

With an estimated economic loss of $290 billion and counting, the 2017 hurricane season is likely to generate massive amounts of charitable donations.

While that’s great news for those who need the help, those of us on the other side who are sharing our time and efforts must be ever vigilant to optimize our donations and ensure they never go to waste. In order to provide the intended help, we have to do that little bit of work that ensures our donations really count.

Read the full article about donations by Jeff Greenstein at Medium.