Take note of charities you give to this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Ralph Milone
  • Eglin Signature Manager Officer
The holidays always bring out the best in us. We think about those who are not as
fortunate whether they be a veteran returning from the warfront, a homeless person,
or a person who just recently lost his/her job and has a family and home to support.

When contributing to a fund or assisting people in need, we normally make a donation to charity and write a check or charge the donation to our credit card. During this time of Season when we go out to our mail boxes, we almost need a couple of extra hands to carry the requests for charity donation letters back inside with us.

Choosing which one you want to donate to is not always an easy task, and currently there are no laws on the books that require charities to use a specific percentage of your donation on charitable purposes. It is up to each of us to make sure our charity donation is used wisely for those truly in need, instead of the charitable organizations using your donation for other purposes not intended for in their initial request.

Be careful of who you give to. It is recommended by various law enforcement agencies and Better Business Bureaus to make an annual charitable budget list and stick to it! Keep the list to a manageable level, approximately 4 to 6 charities should be sufficient.

Don't be impressed by a charity that has an impressive sounding name. Many organizations have names very similar to other well-known charity organizations. Ask from the charitable organization a description of their program, finances, and tax deductibility of the charity. Usually this information is spelled out in the organization's annual report. When you receive telephone appeals, usually, the appeal is made by salespeople employed by charitable organizations.

The majority of the donation you pledge goes to the salesperson or fund raiser, not the charity they are representing. If you are interested in finding out how your charity rates and how your donation is distributed, you can visit www.give.org or www.charitynavigator.org . If you make charitable donations to local organizations, contact the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org or call them locally at 850 429-7674.
Please don't hesitate to keep on giving during this holiday season - just be aware of who you are giving to.