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It pays to be wise when giving to charities
Charity » These tips can help you avoid scams, make best use of time and money.


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Texting for dollars • Lots of charitable causes are using text-message appeals on cellphones. To ensure that texted donations are safe, the BBB this year teamed up with the Mobile Giving Foundation.

Use MobileGiving.org to confirm donations and get a tax receipt. (MobileGiving works only with one-time donations that appear on your cellphone bill.)

At a glance

Giving wisely

Websites with tips on charitable donations

Mobile Giving Foundation » A Better Business Bureau partnership, it gives consumers how-tos on safe, secure donating via mobile phone texts, at http:/// www.mobilegiving.org

GivingTuesday » A campaign by the United Nations Foundation and 2,500 community groups to inspire consumers to donate time and money to local/national nonprofits, at http://www.givingtuesday.org

Donor tips and charity reviews/ratings » CharityNavigator.org, CharityWatch.org, GuideStar.org, GreatNonProfits.org and BBB Wise Giving Alliance (http://www.bbb.org/us/Wise-Giving)

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Keep records • If you want a tax deduction, keep a receipt, credit card statement or canceled check. Donations of $250 or more require an official receipt from the charity.

Be aware of the difference between "tax-exempt" (which means the charity doesn’t have to pay state or federal taxes) and "tax-deductible," which means your donation can be deducted. If a group says it has "tax-exempt" status or a "tax ID number," that doesn’t mean your donation is deductible.

Give from the heart • A donation doesn’t have to come straight from your checkbook. Charities need your time, too. Volunteer at a food bank, dishing out meals. Give books to your local library or seniors’ home. Donate new diapers or formula to a crisis nursery.

There are so many reasons for seasonal giving. Find the cause that fits your budget and passions, then give what you can.




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