Making holiday donations? Be smart about it

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An email making the rounds these days cautions readers to make wise choices when making donations to charities this holiday season.

“Think before you donate,” it warns, adding “as you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good, please keep the following facts in mind.”

It goes on to list half a dozen nationally recognized charities and citing salary figures for the heads of those organizations, some as high as $1.2 million year.

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Then, the email lists another group of charities, ones vetted to guarantee donations are spent on the needs of those served, and not on paying high-profile CEOs.

Whether or not the email is 100 percent accurate is not easily determined. As with most of these chain emails, the details should be regarded skeptically. But the overall message of this one is quite sound.

Particularly during the holiday season, we are asked to make donations to so many different organizations and efforts, from the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign to Operation Shoebox campaigns to school clubs raising funds for local adopt-a-family efforts. And while most of these efforts are well-intentioned, with the doantions truly going to help those most in need, we’re not so naive as to think all are perfect.

So we encourage you to be wisely generous this holiday season. No doubt, so many people here in Pike County (or beyond our borders) will benefit from the blessings shared by us, as they should. Perhaps this time of year, more than any other, we are called to be generous and giving, not just to those we know and love but to all who suffer and need this season. Just be smart about how you give those gifts, choosing agencies you know; people you know; programs which will make a real difference. There is no shame in asking, “how will my donation be used?”

And there’s not greater gift than knowing that your contribution – no matter how large or how small – will make a true difference to someone else.