Last Updated: November 16, 2009
'Tis the season when many charities will be soliciting you for donations. 'Tis also the season when many an expert will be issuing advice about charitable giving and making sure you give to worthy causes.
ElderLawAnswers, for instance, posted these suggestions in a recent blog.
"Give more to a few charities, rather than a little to many, so that what you give can make a difference. Also, if you are only giving larger donations, this will provide a way to tell which charities you care most about, since it won't feel right to give such a large amount to some of the charities you may be considering. Do give to charities related to your business. There's nothing wrong with getting some benefit back from what you give and you are more likely to be familiar with these organizations and know which can make best use of your donation. Finally, check out the charities you are considering at the Charity Navigator."
Charity Navigator, by the way, "works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of more than 5,400 of America's largest charities." Learn more about Charity Navigator.
For his part, FPA member Neal J. Solomon, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, CASL, a managing director with WealthPro, LLC, said the following: "My advice tends to be to support charities that you know, and not to overlook those close to home. I encourage clients to not only give cash, but also time and service. There is no better way to know about a charity than to lend it your time, and perhaps serve on its Board."
Of note, other organizations that evaluate charities include the American Institute of Philanthropy's Charity Watch, GuideStar, and the Better Business Bureau. The IRS Web site also has a place where you can search for a list of organizations that are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. And the Federal Trade Commission Web site features a checklist that you can use when evaluating whether to give to a charity.