The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

December 31, 2013

Be thoughtful when giving to charities

The Daily Star

---- — As 2013 draws to a close, Americans across the nation will give to charities. Data suggests that Americans remain incredibly generous even in tough economic times, and the majority of donations will come during the holiday and end-of-year season. It’s important to be wise about your end-of-year giving because many of us want our money to be spent effectively and efficiently.

Think about all the fundraising pitches you hear or see in a year. How many of them give evidence that their organization and programs fix the problem? Also, consider whether the charitable organization to which you want to donate solves a short-term problem or a long-term problem.

For example, there are many charities that try to improve water infrastructure in developing countries by digging wells for rural villages without a nearby water supply, but those same charities don’t have a plan for when the well breaks.

When considering organizations, look them up online and see if you can find their annual reports. These reports give readers and potential donors an overview of the organization’s financial records and activities for the past year. Also, consider giving to a local charity, perhaps to one that has improved your own life!

Ultimately there is no definite answer about the BEST charity to give to. Remember to ask how your donation will be spent and to think about how far your dollar will go at each charity. And as always, if you cannot donate money, donating your time and skills is ALWAYS an important gift. 

Nicolas Meyering