‘Tis the Season for Charity

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There are those in this world who don’t enjoy the comforts of home. Those who lack the fundamentals of food, shelter, and safety. During the holiday season it can be easy to overlook the less fortunate, even when they’re right here in our own communities.

Like many in real estate, I support causes I believe in with donations of time and money. There is nothing quite as satisfying as giving back and knowing that what I give makes a difference in the lives of others.

If you’re new to supporting causes, you may have some doubts about whether or not your donations go to the people who are most in need. There are many organizations out there which claim to support a cause, but how can you be sure they devote most of their resources to the cause and not the pockets of their directors and offices? I have two resources which might help you evaluate organizations and feel secure about your donations.

First, Charity Watch (www.charitywatch.com) is a top-list of groups which “..generally spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, do not hold excessive assets in reserve, have met CharityWatch’s governance benchmarks, and receive “open-book” status for disclosure of basic financial information and documents to CharityWatch.” The website provides each group’s mission, contact information, and detailed information about governance and transparency.

Another resource for making sure your donations are effective is Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org). According to their mission statement, “{It] works to guide intelligent giving. By guiding intelligent giving, we aim to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation’s and the world’s most persistent challenges.”

Regardless of how you go about it, I hope this inspires you to give in any way you can.