Choosing a Charity Give Wisely

Choosing a Charity Give Wisely
The mail carrier brings them every week, requests from charities and other organizations for donations. Sometimes they include address labels, calendars or personalized note pads or just a plea for a donation.

It’s can be difficult to tell if these are requests from legitimate charities or organizations out to make a quick buck. Before you give, investigate how your donation will be used. Here are some sites that can help you determine if your donation is really going to a good cause.

Charity Navigator :
This site really has a lot to offer. It includes articles with the latest on charities in the news and tips on giving. You can search charities by category, region, charity name or view a list of all 5,000 charities in their database. It’s quick and easy to register with the site and gain access to 6 great tools for finding, comparing and keeping track of charities you select. Use the notify me feature to receive notification of any new charities that fit your criteria.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance:
Get tips on giving, file a complaint or search their data base for a detailed report about a charity. They do not give recommendations for any particular charity, but they evaluate charities and provide detailed reports.

Guide Star
This site provides limited information about selected charities with their free basic search. To obtain more detailed information you have to subscribe to one of their select or premium service. Registering for the free part of the website requires an email confirmation which ended up in my spam folder. Information about each charities mission, goals and history is provided with the basic service. Detailed finacial information is only available for a fee.

Charity Guide:
There’s not a lot of information on this site. They don’t evaluate the charities, but the site makes it easy to locate local charities. Fill in a city and a state to find charities in a specific location. They also provide links to the charities web sites.

NASCO National Association of State Charity Officials:
A list of the offices that regulate charities for each state. Includes the name address, phone number and link to applicable website for each office. If you need to file a complaint about a charity start with the regulatory agency for your state.

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