Holiday Charitable Giving Do's and Don'ts

By glblguy

Child giving

Seems it’s that time again, time to hear that familiar ringing each time you walk towards the entrance of a large store. The Salvation Army is just one of the many charitable donation requests we’ll begin to receive as the holiday season approaches.

Although I feel a bit guilty about it but to be honest, I often feel a little overwhelmed with the number of charitable companies looking for money and donations. Not to mention the often stressful situation of trying to determine if they are truly reputable organizations or just plain scams.

Here’s a few “do’s and don’ts” to help you filter out the “wheat from the chaff” and make the smart giving decisions:


  • Do ask how much of your donation goes to the actual cause vs. administration, people, staff, etc. High quality charities should be giving 75% of your money to the actual cause.
  • Do check out the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance to ensure the charity is on the up and up.
  • Do get a receipt that states the amount and includes the Charities name.
  • Do a quick Google search to see what others on the internet have to say about the charity. This can provide some valuable insight into the credibility of the charity.
  • Do trust the organization to allocate your money where it is most needed. Don’t try to specify where your money will go. After you’ve researched the charity and decided you are comfortable with them, trust them to use the finds in the wisest manner. Specifying how the money should be used just makes it more difficult and costly on the charity.


  • Don’t give out personal information such as account numbers or social security numbers over the phone or via the internet. Doing so can put you at risk of identify theft and even theft in general. When paying online using a credit or debit card, make sure the site is secure.
  • Don’t give to telemarketers. Telemarketing has the highest percentage on scams, and frequently most of these organizations keep 65 to 95 cents of each dollar.
  • Don’t succumb to pressure or guilt tactics. If you are ever heavily pressured or feel threatened call the organizations office or report them to the Better Business Bureau in your area.

7 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Holiday Charitable Giving Do's and Don'ts”

  1. Mrs. Micah Says:

    Do use Charity Navigator as an easy site to gauge lots of charities (especially the large ones).

    They’ll break down expenses for you so you can see how much of your dollar goes to programs. I find them really useful. But then I primarily give through World vision, which spend about 87% of its money on programs!

  2. glblguy Says:

    Great suggestion. I found them while researching this article. In hindsight I should have included them as a resource.


  3. Pinyo Says:

    Great tips GLBL. Most people just give without realizing how much some organization keep — i.e., they are very inefficient or paying their executives too much.

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