When one gives from the heart it brings genuine happiness! Knowing you are making a difference for the less fortunate, surely makes any giver or donator that much more happier. Giving and donations, in the right hands, are always appreciated greatly. Tremendous good can be accomplished with the help of kind people.
Sadly, we must be careful to whom we give or we could be taken instead. It has become a sad reality that we must consider carefully, before giving or donating to help others, because of the many, clever "tug-at-your-heart" stories we are exposed to by scam artists.
Solicitation can come from email, regular mail or telephone. Before making out that check, check out the organization!
The US Federal Trade Commission requires most States to have the charity registered or licensed. This is a protection for the charitable giver. This information and how legit they are can be obtained through the attorney general's office in your own state.
In order for one to be sure how much really goes to those who need it, ask pointed questions. Honest and above-board charities will welcome the opportunity to share
information as to how much actually aids the one in need verses administration costs, if any.
Every charity you give to, should not hesitate to tell you how much of your donation actually is going to directly help people and how much is going for administration.
A word about fund-raisers. Some charities hire professionals to solicit donations for them. These are paid by getting a percentage of the total collections. You have a right to know this information and how much actually goes directly to the cause and how much is going to be paid for wages.
Large, well-known charities, like St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital commits .85 cents for every dollar donated to helping these unfortunate children. They turn no child in need away regardless of ability to pay.
On the other hand, I received a phone call asking for donations toward our "State Police and Firefighters Fund"... for those hurt in the line of duty. Upon questioning, I soon realized it was a scam. When I asked for a phone number so that I could call back, after checking the legitimacy out with our town police, they quickly and quietly hung up!
A good way to ensure your hard-earned dollars are going to bring the most benefit in making a donation or giving, is to consider places like food pantries, homeless shelters, local needs in your own area. You will have the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference!
My husband and I donate to a local homeless shelter. They have a website with a "wish list" of needed items, from food items to toiletries to bedding. We shop for these and drop off a few big bags of items a few times a year and we feel good knowing that we are actually helping people.
Giving to our local homeless shelter enures us the donations of gifts will really go to to those who need it. 100% of the items goes directly to the needy.
We found out that shelters now are housing more women and children, families put out of their homes by unforeseen financial hardships. That the majority of these people were looking for a "hand up", not a "hand-out"!
The FTC recommends checking out the charitable organization, if in question, by contacting the following:
Also, if you are donating money to charities, most will give you a reciept so you can get a tax credit on your annual income tax returns.
If in doubt of the honesty of a charity, go to the following organizations. They also have creative ideas and are up on where money needs are the greatest and will do the most good.
BBB Wise Giving Alliance - www.give.org
American Institute of Philanthropy - charitywatch.org
Be an informed, educated giver. You will be happier for it and so will be the receiver!