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Finding The Charity That’s Right For You

Written by Gizelle Lachey

‘Tis the season of giving, and if you’re looking to make a charitable contribution this holiday season but don’t know where to begin, we can help. There are a number of online resources to guide you in the decision, but there are also some important things to take into consideration when searching for the right charity to donate to.

Follow the Track Record

The best way to find a charity worthy of your donation is to search online. CharityWatch.org organizes more than 600 charities in a database and ranks them based on various elements. These include:

  • Cost to raise $100: Every organization must spend money to raise money. The common ratio is $35 spent per $100 earned in charity.
  • Years of assets: This straightforward barometer measures the number of years the charity has existed and how old its common assets are.
  • Percent spent on charity: It is commonly known that charities do not spend every cent on the actual charitable purposes. Spending 60 percent or better on direct charity is considered acceptable.

If you want to donate, find the charity that speaks to you but is also ranked reasonably and properly verified.

Ciphering Out Fraud

Of course, many new charities do not have a lot funding and exposure but deserve attention. Unfortunately, even in a faith-based environment, people may still try to scam or take advantage of you. It’s vital that you protect yourself from fraud. The online application Web of Trust recognizes quality websites by brandishing them one of four colors: Green designates a website as trustworthy and protected. Yellow confirms that the website has received a few complaints but not enough to justify the dreaded red designation. Red sites are considered scams, malware or generally unprotected. Despite this, many smaller websites are gray/white, meaning either not enough information has been collected or the website is very new.

The LifeLock Twitter page offers insight and tips into what resources are valid and how to avoid fraudulent activity, especially during this holiday season. For instance, you can set up alerts to occur if the website is potentially malware infested, and the online database identifies common identity tactics and ways your computer can be breached.

Simple Online Giving

If you are left confused, you can opt for a mainstream resource toward charitable giving as opposed to searching a database. Amazon recently launched their Amazon Smile program. The company will donate .5 percent of the purchase price of any item to a charity listed. When checking out, sift through the available Amazon-approved charities, confirm that the amount goes to the charity and pick something that specifically speaks to you. You can also do some holiday shopping while you’re at it, which will make you feel good on another level as well.

Don’t forget: December 3 is Giving Tuesday! Head to GivingTuesday.org to donate to your favorite local nonprofit. As a thank you for your donation you have the option to receive a limited-edition DC EcoWomen t-shirt that you can rock to show your EcoWomen pride! Help us raise a final $2013 before 2013 ends.

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