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Daily Q&A: What are the safest and best ways to make charitable donations?

During the holidays, there are a lot of solicitations for charitable donations. What are some of the safest and best ways to give to charity this time of year to avoid scams and when money is tight?

The Better Business Bureau of West Florida points out that giving does not have to include just money. What you give, where you give and how you give are all important.

"The good news is people are still looking for creative or small ways that they can give back and support those who are even less fortunate over the holidays, even with the downturn in the economy" said Karen Nalven, President and CEO of the BBB of West Florida, Inc. "However you decide to give, it's important to stop and take the time to research the charity thoroughly to make sure that your dollar stretches the farthest it can in this tough economy."

Here are some suggestions from the BBB:

• Give items. Many organizations solicit for donations over the holidays including coats, toys, and canned goods.

• Give when you shop. Many charities have had great success partnering with businesses who agree to donate some amount of the purchase price from sales of items to a worthy cause.

• Give online. Giving online with a credit or debit card is among the most efficient ways to support a charity. Before you enter in your numbers, give the website a thorough review and look for the organization's privacy policy, and verify if the organization has appropriate security measures in place to protect such transactions.

• Give your time. In today's tight economy, you may not have money, but you can always give a little bit of your time to help support a worthy cause.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: What are the safest and best ways to make charitable donations? 12/06/10 [Last modified: Monday, December 6, 2010 6:22pm]
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