November 20, 2017
 
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Don't Just Give - Give Wisely!

Facts and Figures:

More than a million public charities, private foundations, and other non-profits are registered in the U.S., according to the IRS. In addition, over 350,000 religious congregations serve in our communities. Eighty-nine percent of American households make charitable contributions. There are also, 83.9 million adults volunteer, which translates into a value of $239 billion!

 With these numbers, it is clear that charities are a major recipient of the generosity of the American people. With so many organizations soliciting contributions - through the mail, online, over the phone, and in person - where should you give?

“To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter.” - Aristotle

 

Before you donate...

  • Research the charity. It doesn’t have to be in depth. Find out some basics like: How long have they been around? What percentage of donations goes to the actual cause?  Have a look over their financial statement.
  • Never give out your personal or financial information to organizations or persons you do not know. This includes your social security number, credit card number and/or bank account numbers.
  • Ask for written contact information and mission statements. Legitimate companies have nothing to hide and will gladly provide.

  • For one on one encounters, ask for identification. Ask if they are a paid fundraiser or someone who works or volunteers directly for the charity. By law, they have to identify themselves and the charity they work for.

  • Be wary of look-a-like names. Phony charities will use a name that sounds very similar to well known and respected ones.

  • Ask how your donation will be distributed. How much of your donation will go to the program you want to support and how much will go into administrative costs?

  • Don’t give or send cash; use checks for security and tax purposes. This is harder to do these days, but it’s your hard earned money. Give purposefully and wisely.

  • Be wary of emotional and high-pressure appeals and don’t give under pressure! Typically, legitimate charities won’t push you to give money on the spot.

  • Know the difference between tax deductible and tax exempt. Even if an organization is tax exempt, your contribution may not be tax deductible.

 

It pays to give wisely. Here are some websites that can help you:

-Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org

-American Institute of Philanthropy at www.charitywatch.org

-GuideStar at www.guidestar.org

 

Christian Credit Counselors is a non-profit organization that was created to help individuals and families regain control of their finances through the use of educational tools, credit counseling and other resources.

 

 

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