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Posts Tagged ‘charity’

Real happiness comes from the heart. When you give from the heart, your experience is deeply rewarding and you feel good about yourself. One charity I believe in and wanted to share with you today is Kids Cancer Fund.

Kids Cancer Fund is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to improve the quality of life for kids with cancer. Kids Cancer Fund:

  • Provides financial help via grants to families with children diagnosed with cancer.
  • Provides cancer research information and awareness to patients, families and the public.
  • Provides research grants to promising pediatric cancer research programs, hospitals, physicians and scientists. We are especially interested in targeted immunotherapy.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death among children younger than 15 (after accidents). About 1,340 children are expected to die from cancer in 2012.

Please visit the website at www.KidsCancerFund.org

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Another Way to Donate

If you really want to support a charity or a cause but just don’t have the financial means right now, consider donating your time instead of money. Time is a very valuable resource and charities are always looking for volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of charities and are what keeps them running. For without volunteers, charities may have to close operations. Make sure you choose a cause you are passionate about and look for opportunities that match your skills, interests, and schedule. For example, if you like kids, volunteer at Big Brother; if you like animals, try an animal shelter; if you like the outdoors, volunteer to clean up beaches or highways.

Opportunities to volunteer are all around you. Your employer probably has ties to charities. Your friends may be involved with charities. Your church probably has a variety of volunteer opportunities. Websites like Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) provide helpful information. Your local newspaper, family and friends can also help.

Before you volunteer, research charities just like you would if you were donating money. You want to make sure your time and effort goes into a legitimate cause. Next, contact the charity to find out what the volunteer needs are and if your skills and interests match those needs. Once you are accepted as a volunteer, it is important to commit yourself to it. Be passionate about the cause, be professional and understand how much you are helping others.

Internet Resources

Here are a couple of internet websites that I like and can help you find volunteer opportunities:

  • www.volunteermatch.org. Volunteer Match is an online service that matches your interest and schedule with community service opportunities in your area. It is the preferred volunteer recruiting service for thousands of nonprofits.
  • www.campfireusa.org. Camp Fire USA builds caring, confident youth and future leaders. They provide safe, fun, and nurturing environment for children and youth.
  • www.standupforkids.org. StandUp For Kids helps homeless and street kids. It is run almost entirely by volunteers and provides many services like food, shelter, counseling, and health services.

When we volunteer our time, our money, or our talents, we help make the world a better place for everyone. When you give from the heart, your experience is deeply rewarding and you feel good about yourself. When you give, everyone wins.

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Making Donations

After you’ve done your research and verified the charity is reputable, you’re ready to donate. There are several ways to make a donation. You can donate by check. Make the check payable to the charity and not to the solicitor. You can bequeath funds or land as part of your will. To do so, you will want to discuss this with your attorney and with the gift officers from the organization to which you want to give. You can donate products such as computer equipment or used cars.

Internet Resources

There are over 1.4 million charities in the United States. The internet is a great resource to evaluate charities and help you decide which groups you want to give to. Some of my favorite websites are:

  • www.give.org. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance helps donors make informed decisions about the different charities you may be considering. The Alliance doesn’t rank charities but provides lots of information you can use.
  • www.charitynavigator.org. Charity Navigator monitors and evaluates the financial health of charitable organizations and reports trends in the industry. It is America’s largest independent charity evaluator.
  • www.irs.gov. This is the Internal Revenue Service website. Review Publication 526 (Charitable Contributions). Publication 526 explains how to claim a deduction for charitable contributions. It discusses the types of contributions you can deduct and what records to keep.

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“We’re hoping that America, which is already the most generous society on Earth, becomes even more generous over time.”

-Warren Buffet

There are over 1.4 million charities in the United States but not all are legitimate. When you donate, you give from the heart and want your money to be used for what you intended it for. Charity scams can be hard to spot and are often set up as quasi-legitimate agencies that look real. This article (parts 1-3 over three days) walks you through the steps needed to verify if a charity is legitimate and discusses ways to donate safely. It’s great to be a giver — but give cautiously so you’re not enriching scammers or a questionable ‘charity.’

Experts agree that a legitimate and efficient charity should be using at least 50 to 60 cents of each dollar it receives to conduct the actual charitable work and use the remaining funds to pay for administrative, marketing and other operational expenses. To find out how efficient a charity is, you start by checking out the organization with the local charity registration office and with your local Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com).  

You can also check to see the amount of your dollar that goes directly to charitable work on that organization’s required annual Form 990. Charities and foundations are required to complete this form once a year and this information must be made available to potential donors upon request. Many forthcoming charities actually post their financial information on their Web sites.

The specific information on these forms and in a charity’s annual report gives you a good idea of how the charity works, who governs it and where and how it spends money to address its concerns and run its operation. In these reports, you should be able to see the major expense categories, including program services, management/operation and fund raising such as:

  • Program service costs – Research grants made to scientists, food sent to feed hungry families or public information brochures aimed at explaining a disease
  • Management/operational costs – Expenses associated with the day-to-day operation of the charity, including rent, office supplies and salaries of administrative staff
  • Fundraising costs – Printing and mailing of appeals, advertising and fees paid to professional fund-raisers

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