WISE GIVING – A GUIDE TO EVALUATING CHARITABLE SOLICITATIONS
Submitted by: Carrie Kimball-Monahan of the Essex District Attorney’s Office
With the country facing difficult economic times and the winter holidays nearly upon us, requests from charitable organizations are sure to come – by phone, mail and e-mail – at a fast and furious pace. It is often difficult to determine which charities to support and which to avoid. It is unfortunate that some people use a “charitable” cause to steal good-intentioned people’s money. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to donate wisely.
There are several reliable resources available to help people evaluate a charity. Perhaps the easiest one to access is the Better Business Bureau’s web site – give.org. This web site provides information on hundreds of charities nationwide. Also, all charities operating in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are required to register with the Attorney General’s Office. You may contact them at (617) 727-2200, ext. 2101.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are under no obligation to give your money to any organization, even if you said you would and you have changed your mind. Other important things to keep in mind are:
Another good source of information is www.charitynavigator.org. This web site provides information on how much of your donation goes to administration and overhead vs. direct help to those who need it.
In this season of giving when the need is great, take the time to ensure that your good will is helping and not lining someone else’s pocket.
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