Give wisely and give often

We’ve worked hard for our money. And now we want to give some of it back to the community. We’ve seen the donation kettles and the Seattle Times Fund for the Needy ads. But my watchword is to check before I write the check. Is the charity legitimate or has it just picked a worthy-sounding name? And how much of my donation goes to the cause as opposed to administrative costs?

Who ya gonna call? Here are a couple of places that give you tips on the topic: Better Business Bureau’s Charitable Giving,  Federal Trade Commission’s Avoid Charity Fraud and Washington State Attorney General Consumer Protection Division’s Charities.

Here are a couple of places to go to get information about the charities: Charity NavigatorGuideStar, and Wise Giving Alliance from the Better Business Bureau. One good sign to check for legitimacy is if the charity is registered with the Washington State Secretary of State’s Charities Program. This information is also available by phone via the Charities Hotline at 1-800-332-4483.

And here are a couple of options for donating to local charities: Donate Seattle for donating used goods and United Way of King County for combined giving to a host of worthy organizations.

From my family’s history, cancer and Alzheimer’s cures are at the top of my list. So what’s on your list?

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