Editorial: Make sure your donations go to a good cause

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted11/27/2017 3:46 PM
  • If you're in a giving mood, visit a website that will rate the effectiveness of various charities.

    If you're in a giving mood, visit a website that will rate the effectiveness of various charities. Daily Herald file photo

You've made it through Black Friday, hopefully intact. You've worn out your keyboard and your fingers to wrest the best deals from Cyber Monday. Today is no time to rest.

It's Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving that kicks off the charitable season.

Now that you have your family and friends and yourself covered for holiday gifts, why not take some time to give a helping hand those who don't have the wherewithal to buy their dreams, those whose kids might not have much under a tree on Christmas morning? Or those who need food and shelter, people who help animals, people who need cancer treatments?

If only we put as much thought into who we give our hard-earned money to as we do when we set out to snag one of those cut-rate $200 big-screen TVs.

Not every organization raising money is on the up and up. You'll find organizations with the most wholesome-sounding names pocketing the money they collect from unsuspecting, big-hearted people.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan this month announced a settlement led by Illinois and other states to dissolve VietNow, an alleged nonprofit based in Rockford, that claimed to have raised money to help veterans overcome PTSD and get jobs. The organization misled donors about how the money was used.

"For years VietNow has scammed donations from people who thought their money would be used to support necessary services for our military veterans," Madigan said in a news release. "Instead, VietNow pocketed donations and did virtually nothing for veterans."

Please don't let the scammers dissuade you from donating. There are several trustworthy organizations that will help you navigate the waters of charitable giving. They will tell you about which are on the up and up, which contribute the most to people or causes in need -- and which ones to avoid.

Click on any one of these websites to help steer you in the right direction.

• Charity Watch: https://www.charitywatch.org/top-rated-charities

• The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance: http://give.org/

• Charity Navigator: HTTPS://www.charitynavigator.org/

And don't forget our own Believe Project, in which readers like you vie for the opportunity to pay it forward with a $100 bill from our benefactor. We'll publish people's stories every day in December.

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