Editorial: Give generously, but wisely to charity groups

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2005

With all the calls for help coming in &045; particualarlyfinancial donations &045; for areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, it’s important to give to reputable charities.

It’s difficult to imagine there are people and groups out there who would like to con you out of your money, money you may think will benefit Katrina victims, but which will

instead benefit the con artists.

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Be sure to check out any new organization thoroughly before giving. But better yet, there are many established, reputable groups to which you can give that will ensure your money does the most good.

There are a number of points to remember when sending donations. Here are the basics, offered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus:

Do not give cash; always make contributions by check and make your check payable to the charity, not an individual.

Keep a record of your donation (receipts, canceled checks and bank statements) so you can document your giving at tax time.

Don’t be fooled by names of groups which look impressive or that closely resemble the name a well-known organization.

Check out the organization with the local charity registration office, usually a division of the state attorney general’s office, and the BBB.

Generally speaking, local groups, such as churches or special community fundraising raising efforts, can be trusted.

We urge you to be as generous as your personal situation allows, but we also encourage you to give wisely to reputable groups, for the benefit of victims, and your own financial safety.