Money Matters Story Idea: Make Educated Charitable Donations

By Ryan G. Murphy, RTDNA

As the holiday season approaches, and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, your audience may be receiving appeals for charitable donations in their inbox, mailbox, and voicemail. If they are in a position to give, help them not just throw out money to whatever causes tug at their heartstrings; encourage them to do their homework, determine their giving budgets, and put a strategy in place, according to offers several tips for you to pass on to your audience via a package or web story:

1. Pick A Charity or Cause

Select your causes ahead of time to give yourself time to do research and to not be tempted by all the requests for donations coming your way.

Sort through solicitations you have received in the mail, from your children’s school, or at your workplace to narrow your scope.

Involve your entire family in finding a cause that means something to all of you, and use this opportunity to talk to your kids about giving back to others.

If a national charitable organization appeals to your family, look for a local chapter so your family can see the direct impact of its donation in your neighborhood.

Consider choosing a child-related charity, which your children might better relate to.

2. Prescreen A Charity

Go online and investigate your charity, even if you’ve chosen a charity you have donated to before. Use websites such or to find annual reports, brochures, mission statements, and information on the charity’s CEO. Find out how the organization elicits, distributes, and spends donations, and be sure it has been granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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