Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Feeling charitable? How not to get ripped off

Around the holidays, people often donate to charity. There are 1.5 million nonprofits--how can you judge which ones rate your hard-earned money?

Laura Fredericks is a charity expert.She once raised a million bucks in 24 hours.

She recommends you check your charity of choice with a reputable watchdog organization.

Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) has been around since 2001 and rates by "stars"--1 being lowest, 4 being highest. It looks at the organization's financial health, accountability, and transparency--and now is looking at effectiveness.

GuideStar (www.guidestar.org) gathers info on IRS-registered organizations.

Also the Better Business Bureau--BBB Wise Giving Alliance publishes 20,000 reports. Go to www.bbb.us/wise-giving-alliance-axamples-corporate- resources.

Then go to the charity website and download last three annual reports. Red flags are board and staff turnover. Different names each year--caution.

See where their funds went. Make sure at least 80% went to the mission.

See where the funds came from--you want to see individual gifts or bequests--around 80%.

I give through our local newspaper fund drive at the holidays--the paper matches the gifts.

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