You should try to donate and volunteer to charitable causes as often as you can, but that need definitely rises during the holidays. However, while you’re out adopting angels from the Angel Tree, giving money to St. Jude’s, and volunteering at the food bank, be sure to keep an eye out for scammers. Even though people are generally more giving during the holidays, unfortunately this also leads to a rise in the number of rip-off artists. Some people will say anything to get your money, which is why it’s important to do your research before donating to a cause. Joanne Guidoccio at The Dollar Stretcher has some tips on how to be generous, but smart:
Get Off the Telephone No reputable charity will ask you to donate over the telephone.
Check the Numbers No more than forty percent of donations should be used to cover general administration and fund-raising costs.
Do Not Respond to Pressure You have a right to say no.
Double-Check the Name Some charities use names that closely resemble well-known, legitimate organizations.
Keep Records While it is necessary to save records of any donations for tax purposes, it is also important to keep records to avoid fraud.
Give Generously and Wisely Once you have identified worthy charities and causes, consider your own budgetary constraints.