03/09/2015 02:32 pm ET Updated May 09, 2015

On Journey to Cambodia, Investigation Process Validated

We are often asked why we spend the money to investigate potential Honorees at World of Children Award. Well, we are currently in Cambodia to visit two of our Honorees and were reminded why this remains such an important step in the Award process. On Thursday morning we awoke to this headline: "Police Close Orphanage Over Child Sex Claims" (source).

It is exactly this kind of scandalous activity that we seek to avoid. The Huffington Post has documented well many charity scandals over the past several years. And in 2014, the charitable world was rocked when it was revealed that the Somaly Mam Foundation was a fraud, and numerous other charities came under increased scrutiny.

By using a professional global security firm to monitor potential Honorees, we can be relatively certain that this will not occur in our World of Children Award family. Of course, there is no guarantee that after investigation and approval this could not occur, but by making certain that we have the best and most trustworthy Honorees from the outset and following up with them after the fact, we can, at the very least, mitigate the potential for scandal and ensure that our funds go to only the best and most secure programs.

Interestingly, many organizations like this one that has been shuttered this week in Cambodia, work hard each year to submit nominations to compete for the coveted World of Children Award. More than 1,000 organizations will be recommended to us for review this year alone. While we only send investigators into the field after a nomination has made it to our final round of review, numerous fraudulent and dishonest organizations have been discovered by our highly effective team in the field.

Donors beware -- think carefully about how you invest your precious charitable dollars. Only commit your resources to organizations who have been carefully vetted, like those honored by World of Children Award each year. As we visit programs for children this week founded by Honorees like Benoît Duchâteau-Arminjon and Kenro Izu, I know we will be reminded how precious funding from our supporters helped to make a real and lasting impact in the lives of children in Cambodia and Laos. Thank you for your support!

If you know of a tremendous changemaker for children with a nonprofit organization in good standing, you can nominate them for one of our Awards until April 1, 2015. Click here to learn about the Nomination process.