Checking Up on Charities: Good Practices

With the unimaginable crisis in Haiti weighing so heavily on people's minds, folks are looking to donate money and other items in meaningful ways.  Many are wondering whether the charities that are making appeals for Haiti are legitmate and just what kind of work these groups do.  Others worry about how much of their donation actually makes it to those who are suffering versus covering administrative costs.  These are all valid questions and rational concerns.  Luckily, we can do our homework and learn a great deal about the charities that are out there.  Today, we share some excellent resources with you for getting the inside scoop on charities.  When you give, give from the heart and give wisely.
 
BBB Wise Giving Alliance:  This site is hosted by the Better Business Bureau.  It provides simple searching for information on charities, provides a consumer center where you can inquire or make a complaint about a charity, and provides access to BBB Wise Giving Reports which rate charities based on BBB accountability standards.  The site also features a Wise Giving Guide and directory of BBB accredited charities.
 
GuideStar:  GuideStar's free nonprofit reports have been popular with researchers for years.  Searching GuideStar is easy and the information is thorough.  They even provide excellently formatted printable versions of their reports for your use.  The site even provides for user-submitted reviews.  GuideStar definitely has one of the best sites for nonprofit and charity information available.
 
CharityNavigator:  CharityNavigator provides a fantastic site that has the donor in mind.  It's "Guide to Intelligent Giving" offers a robust suite of services.  From charity information searches, to resources and articles on smart giving, to a database of charity studies, CharityNavigator is designed to empower donors and help them make good choices.

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