6 tips for giving wiselyPublished 11:00am Tuesday, March 18, 2014
1. Know your charity.
Charities have an obligation to provide detailed information to interested donors. Never give to a charity without finding out about it first.
2. Find out where the money goes.
Find out how much of the donation goes for general administration and fundraising versus how much is left for the program services you want to support.
3. Do not respond to pressure.
Do not be pressured into contributing on the spot. Request additional information in writing if not familiar with a charity.
4. Keep records of your donations.
Do not give credit card numbers to a telephone solicitor or through an unfamiliar website. Obtain a receipt or printed copy of the donation for tax purposes. For all tax-deductible contributions of $250 or more, the Internal Revenue Service requires a receipt from the charity.
5. Ask if the charity is registered by federal, state or local authorities.
Nearly all non-church charities with more than $25,000 per year in income must file financial information annually with the IRS. But remember, registration in itself is not a stamp of government approval or an endorsement of the charity.
6. Beware of charities offering gifts.
Direct mail solicitations are often accompanied by greeting cards, address stickers, calendars or key rings. Charities do this because it can increase donations, but do not feel you have to make a contribution to keep the items. It is against the law for a charity to demand payment for any unordered merchandise.
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