How To Be A Smart Giver
How can we talk about giving when many of us are spending part of the year trying to get new jobs or rework old mortgages? Because rough economies don’t release us from our obligations as people. As the end of the year approaches, plan now how you’ll show good will toward mankind and all that good stuff. But this year of all years, you want to really be sure that your money is going where you think it is. Here are some guidelines to help you smartly share (what’s left of) your wealth.
Follow your heart, not the mail. Don’t wait for a charity to contact you, but choose your project in sync with your personal beliefs. Be clear about the change you want to affect. For example, do not just support cancer issues. “Drill down further and determine if you want to find a cure for breast cancer, increase the public’s awareness of breast cancer or fund mammograms for at-risk women in your community,” says Sandra Miniutti, vice president, marketing and CFO for Charity Navigator.
Play detective. Once you’ve picked out a few whose mission and programs are a good fit, narrow the field by doing a little work. There are some good pointers on Charity Navigator or on the Charity Review Council’s website.
You can learn a lot by pinpointing the charity’s focus. Many organizations have similar-sounding names. Be sure you’re giving to who you support and not a group that may have different goals.
Be skeptical. There’s plenty of fraud out there. “Never provide credit card or other personal information until you have verified with the organization that your information is secure,” advises Helen Ng, marketing and communications manager for the Charities Review Council. Other sources for checking out a charity include www.give.org and www.charitywatch.org. Look for 501
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