Giving to Charity

When you give to charities:

  • Decide beforehand how much you can afford to donate to causes. Keep track of your charitable giving so you stay within your budget.
  • Target your giving. You can’t help everyone, so consider giving to a few good charities that tackle issues you care about most.
  • Don't be pulled off your plan by phoned requests for donations or heart-rending TV ads. Fundraising campaigns like these cost money –and those costs are paid by donations.
  • Get details. Many charities say they provide “help,” but a charity’s literature or site should spell out exactly what its programs are and how it uses donations.
  • Check before you give. Contact the Better Business Bureau (216) 241-7678 or for a report on local groups. Consult rating sites like, or


When charities call to ask you for money, it’s OK to say no. Why?

  • You can’t be sure who’s calling. Scammers often adopt “sound-alike” names so you think you’re dealing with a well-known, reputable charity.
  • Marketing campaigns siphon money from donations. Donating directly to a charity often gets more of your dollars to the cause you want to support.
  • Some charities use high-pressure sales tactics, such as pushing you to donate or telling you sad stories. Being able to spin a sad tale doesn’t mean the charity does effective work.
  • Having to make a decision while you’re on the phone doesn’t allow you time to evaluate a charity. Reputable charities accept donations all year long, not just during the holidays or during fund drives.
  • You could get pestered more often. Some groups sell donors’ information to others.