An article on CNN Money gives readers tips on charitable giving:
* Give With Confidence (research the organization you choose to determine its legitimacy)
* Wide Up Over the Phone (don’t be taken in by scammers)
* Beware of Mail Tactics (don’t be taken in by scammers—again)
* Be In It for the Long Run (think long-term)
* Get the Tax Deduction (if the donation qualifies and you reach the minimum limit)
I was reading bits of The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko over Thanksgiving. The authors suggest that people who build wealth at a better-than-average rate tend to stay far away from charitable giving. Needless to say, I didn’t really like the book, especially its tone. Most of these books are so similar; they only have, at most, five things to say. The pages are then filled with corny “real-life” examples of those five points.
In any case, don’t choose a charity under pressure. Don’t choose one just because your friends tell you to donate. If you’re going to give charity, choose one that means something to you. Or, if you are someone who might donate to an organization in someone else’s name as a gift, make sure it’s a charity that has meaning to the recipient.