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The gift that keeps giving:donating to charities during the Holidays

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The Holidays are here and donating gifts always ranks high amongst gift givers. Inspired by heartfelt good towards one another, we're a community and nation with an estimated 40 million Americans giving to charity each year.

"Charitable giving is at its peak during the holiday season, genuine goodwill", says Una Osili, director of research at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, reports usatoday.com.

Here a some tips and recommendations for Connecticut businesses and residents from about.com on donating:

  1. Give locally. The charity down the block and that you know well probably is raising its own funds. Give to your local PBS station, your PTA, the local symphony, the local food bank. See if there is a community foundation in your area.
  2. Give directly. Send a check directly to your favorite charity or drop it by the charity's office. Go to the charity's website and donate using its own credit card system. Purchase its tickets, attend its special events, and, especially if you are giving a large amount, ask to visit with the fundraising officer directly.
  3. Use charity rating organizations to check out the fundraising efficiency of charities. Go to CharityNavigator or the Better Business Bureau site and look up the charity you're considering. If its fundraising efficiency is high, consider donating. You won't know if a commercial fundraiser is being used, but it's the efficiency that matters.
  4. When giving online, read the information provided. Whether it is FaceBook, NetworkforGood, or any one of the many charitable giving portals, check out what fees are being charged, to whom, and for what.
  5. Educate yourself about charitable giving. Read articles about philanthropy and charities in your favorite publications, browse the articles at the rating sites, engage in conversations with friends about charitable giving, and share information.

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