WAYS TO MAXIMIZE CHARITABLE GIVING
Due to the recession, many people are cutting back their spending, including giving to their favorite charities. Here are some ways to make your donations have more of an impact.
Give to the neediest. Charities such as food banks, homeless shelters and utility assitance programs are getting hit with the double whammy of decreased donations and increased demand. If you want to make a real impact, give to one of these groups.
Check charity finances. Use charity evaluation sites like:
to see how nonprofits are spending your money. Ideally, at least 75 percent of a donation should go toward programs.
Concentrate your giving; if you can't give much, focus on just one or two charities that are important to you so your cash has a bigger impact.
You can also donate more than just cash. Volunteering your time and skills or donating items such as canned food or gently used clothing can help as much as opening your wallet.
Oh, and skip the middleman! If you're going to donate money, write a check directly to the charity. If you pay with a credit card, the charity loses a 2 or 3 percent processing fee to the card issuer.
Give as you shop is also a good idea, use the free portal; iGive.com to link to and buy from your favorite retailers. A percentage of each purchase goes to a charity, without adding to your tab at checkout.
They say it is better to give than receive, and charities so need us to keep them in mind especially in times like these. They need us now more than ever. . .