Take time to make good decisions about giving

An editorial from the Herald-Dispatch:

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — This is the season for giving, and there are thousands of ways to give.

But other than direct gifts to family and friends, most of our charitable giving is funneled through some sort of non-profit organization. That may be our church, a local charity or any of the thousands of state and national groups raising money in the name of children, animals, the environment, education, the arts, human services, religion or health.

Almost all seem like worthwhile causes, but some make better use of our hard-earned dollars.

This week, for example, the Charleston Daily Mail reported on a veterans-related group that devoted most of its spending to professional fees and fundraising. The newspaper examined the tax forms of the West Virginia Vietnam Veterans Foundation and found that the group received $630,000 from 2002 to 2012. Yet, about $423,000 of that went to fees that included the cost of a professional fundraiser.

Additional money went to administrative expenses, rent and other costs. In recent years, the charity rarely spent more than 10 percent of its annual revenues on veterans, the newspaper reported.

That is a sobering reminder that it is smart to do a little checking before making a contribution. We often spend hours researching a new TV or vehicle purchase, but surveys show most Americans invest very little time in evaluating donations…

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