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Donating Money to Green Charities

One simple way to care for the environment is simply to donate money to charity. If you’re looking to give away some of your hard-earned income, whatever your eco-friendly ideals, there’s sure to be a charity to match.

Some organizations that call themselves charities or nonprofits may in fact not be as charitable or nonprofit as you expect. You want as much of your money as possible going to the cause you’re supporting rather than to administration or salary costs of the organization. In addition, make sure that your aid gets to the people it’s designed to help — that food aid for developing nations is reaching those who are starving, for example, and not being siphoned off by officials or middlemen in those nations.

To make sure that the charity you’re interested in is legitimate and worthwhile, do the following:

  • Call the charity or nonprofit’s head office to find out how much of the money you give ends up invested in the project you pick and how much goes to administrative or fundraising costs. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance recommends that at least 65 percent of total charity expenses should go to program service activities rather than administration. Charities regularly report this information in annual reports and to potential donors; if a charity isn’t willing to share this information with you, don’t donate to it.

  • Search news stories about a charity’s work. Try Internet searches for the organization’s name to find news stories about its work.

  • Seek independent advice about the charity. Turn to the Charity Navigator and your local Better Business Bureau (including the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance).

Just because an organization is a registered charity with the IRS doesn’t mean that every donation is tax-deductible. Always ask before you donate.

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