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Daily Q&A: What's the best way to pick a charity?

How do I go about picking a charity, if I want to make a donation?

While we often talk about how to avoid getting scammed during charitable giving, this is an important question.

The Charities Aid Foundation America offers these tips for identifying a charity for a donation:

• Focus on a charity that makes sense for you. Charities have an obligation to provide detailed information to interested donors. Never give to a charity you know nothing about.

• Do your homework and donate safely. There is no substitute for due diligence when it comes to charitable giving. Ask the charity about its achievements, what has failed, and how it is financed. Many charities provide some of this information online or you can e-mail them. If they are being transparent they will tell you.

• Focus on sustainability – not "one shot" giving. If you are considering a larger donation, it's important to think about what happens after your money is spent by a charity. Do the services offered decline? Do programs get dismantled?

For these and other tips as well as a searchable database on 1,500 nonprofits, visit the foundation's web site at:

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to or Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: What's the best way to pick a charity? 09/08/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 3:21pm]
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