Pin It
Favorite

Tips on Giving 

by Cara Gardner


With the number of charities increasing by 50,000 to 80,000 each year, it's no wonder that choosing where and how to donate can be confusing. Add to that the threat of fraud and it's easy to see why many Americans throw up empty hands instead of holding them out to others. But good works far outnumber bad ones; plus, there are plenty of ways people can research, fact-check and find help when it comes to figuring out how to make sure their money is making change.


Peter Jackson, president and CEO of Foundation Northwest, an organization that helps people gift their money by providing guidance and information, suggests that if a donor is gifting in the range of $20,000 or more a year, it's best to work through professionals.


"When you start giving at that level, you have to pay attention," Jackson says. "It's complicated, and there are smart ways to give." Jackson says a community foundation can help people make tax-wise gifts as well as advise them on maximizing the effectiveness of their support.


If the donations are smaller or if people want to do the work themselves, it's never been easier. The following tips were taken from GuideStar, an online network that shares information about the nonprofit sector. At GuideStar, potential donors can look up a nonprofit to see how much its executive director makes, how it spends its money, and how its previous year's tax forms shape up.





- Clarify Your Values: Before diving into the ocean of organizations, ask yourself what is most important to you: the environment, hunger, poor children, battered women, animal welfare? Are you looking for a local charity or a national organization? Do you prefer supporting a brand-new charity or a well-established one?





- Methodology: Remember to learn how the organization works. Do you want to donate to a group that provides immediate assistance, is centered on prevention, focuses on long-term training or education, or advocates public policy?





- Evaluate Legitimacy: If you find a charity on www.guidestar.org, you know it's legitimate. All nonprofits listed on GuideStar are either registered with the IRS or have provided proof that they meet the IRS criteria for charitable organizations. If not listed on the Web site, ask the organization for a "letter of determination," or if it's listed under a different name. If it is faith-based, ask to see its official listing in a directory for its denomination.





- Dismiss Inexact Fits: You can be picky. If an organization doesn't provide adequate information, refuses to discuss their finances and or programs, doesn't give you clear examples of its goals and the results it seeks, or uses rhetoric to veil inconsistencies about its work, then don't feel pressured to donate. There are plenty of worthy charities out there.





- Trust Your Heart: Using your head is important, but so are your instincts. Make sure you're not so focused on giving wisely that you lose sight of the reason you're giving at all. Charity, after all, comes from the heart.





Publication date: 08/05/04
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Children Will Listen
  • Children Will Listen

    How art speaks to life in this particular moment
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • So Here We Are
  • So Here We Are

    Here's hoping the new president fills the office with the grace and sense of tradition it requires
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Get Big Money Out
  • Get Big Money Out

    Letters to the Editor
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Women's March on Spokane

Women's March on Spokane @ Spokane Convention Center

Sat., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Cara Gardner

  • Pride or Prejudice?

    Jim West may have overcompensated for his closeted sexual identity by voting against gay rights legislation. But how are his fellow Republicans dealing with the news that the powerful conservative has admitted to sexual relationships with
    • Jul 8, 2005
  • Weapon of Mass Doubt

    Scott Ritter has been called "an honest man lost in Washington" by Forbes and "the most famous renegade Marine officer" by the New York Times. A former marine captain and the former chief weapons inspector for Unscom, the agency in charge
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • Plaintiffs Speak

    For many, the current hearings in the Washington Supreme Court regarding marriage equality are interesting side notes in the ongoing battle over the right of homosexuals to marry legally. But for Marge Ballack and Diane Lantz, two plaintif
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • Positive Protest

    Why peaceful action should be understood as a point of national pride
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Comment


scandal


scandals


Briefs


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • When Sharing Isn't Caring
  • When Sharing Isn't Caring

    In the world of social media, we all have a responsibility to exercise due diligence
    • Aug 12, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation