Your child is searching for a mitzvah project and there are thousands of organizations to choose from. How do they decide which non-profit and stay safe?
- Check out the organization on Charity Navigator, Guide Star and BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
If there is a red flag on any of these sites, it’s a good idea to steer clear of any involvement with the non-profit entity. Do your homework and ask the Executive Director how much of the funds you may be raising for them are given directly to the cause. How much of the funds go towards operating expenses? This will help you initially weed out some bad eggs.
- Ask if all employees have background checks.
If your child is going to be working with the staff members, ask about their training and see if they have had criminal and child abuse checks. Just like sending your kids to school, you want to protect your child from adults with any bad history.
- Parent accompanies child when visiting organization or doing volunteer work with strangers.
Even if there are background checks completed, it is imperative you go with your child to any events or working hours with the non-profit. You are the parent and you cannot rely on others to watch your bar/bat mitzvah child.
- Animal related project. There are age limits for a reason and I would not push your child to work with animals if the organization has age-related restrictions. Many times they may encourage those under 16 years old to be accompanied by a parent/guardian or work on outside activities to support their cause.
- Communication between organization and youth.
Emails or texts from a non-profit volunteer coordinator to your child should be monitored by a parent or guardian. It’s a great idea to give your child more responsibility communicating with leaders or adults. However, you should also ensure you are copied on every single iota of correspondence. Your child’s safety online is imperative!
- Sending money.
If your child is fundraising for a 501(c)(3), funds should be sent in the form of a check, payable directly to the organization. If an individual working for the non-profit asks for funds in the form of cash or a check made out to them, you may refuse payment. As always, when delivering funds to a valid non-profit, ask for a tour of their facilities and an interview with the Executive Director. This gives your bar/bat mitzvah child an extra step in implementing a meaningful project.
Using your child’s photos in the organization’s publicity (online and printed)is up to you as a parent. Your bar/bat mitzvah student, most likely, would enjoy the Instagram opportunity. However, double check the photo release form and ask exactly where the photo will show up.
Do you have any other safety suggestions when it comes to bar/bat mitzvah projects?
Email Cheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org