How to Give It Away: 5 Ways to Make Your Charity Dollars Go Further


On the heels of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, a partnership spearheaded by the 92nd Street Y in New York City launched Giving Tuesday, turning the idea behind all those one-day consumer events on its head.

The impulse to give something back around the holidays is only natural, even if today’s economy means many of us have less to give than in the past. The lackluster economy has taken a toll on charities, too; they say they depend on donations more than ever due to cutbacks in government spending.

No matter how much you give, these tips will help you make sure you get the most bang for your charity buck.

1. Read expert (and non-expert) reviews. Sites like and look at charities’ financial records and corporate governance standards. They rate them based on things like how much money they spend on fund-raising and if they have rules to prevent conflicts of interest among their leaders. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance uses a 20-point list of standards that includes fundraising practices, how much they spend on their programs, the quality of governance, how forthcoming they are in their public information and how they measure their effectiveness, says H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

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