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‘Check Your Charity’ Before Donating This Holiday

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 15 Dec 2010 07:47am | comments
A Charity Gift Tree in a Jackson Grocery Store.

Mississippians who are in the giving mood this holiday season need to be on the lookout for wasteful or fraudulent charities. MPB's Jeffrey Hess has more about how you can make sure your donated dollars are put to good use.

Mississippi is routinely near of the top of the so-called generosity index, a list that compares how much the Mississippians earn versus how much they give away.

Unfortunately, says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, that also makes generous givers a target for fake or wasteful charities.

Secretary Hosemann has launched a program called 'Check you Charity', which aims to give Mississippians a resources on how their money is being spent.

"And on that web site you can go and see how much of each charitable contribution is spent on management and overhead and how much is spent on the charitable purpose. And we encourage people, that if you see more than 35% is spent on management, you may want to reconsider where you dollars are going," Hosemann said.

The Secretary of State's web site and the IRS web site can also help Mississippians figure out if a charity is real; bringing huge amounts of information about the charity into one place.

"We get it from the Internal Revenue Service Forms and then we synthesize it down and put it on our web site. So we compare each one of the charities. We have hundreds of the that are registered in the state of Mississippi," Hosemann said.

Mark McCrary with the Mississippi Center for Non-profits says when you donate it is important to do research and donate to established non-profits to avoid imposter charities.

"If a non-profit hasn't been around a long time, they need to watch that. Because that could be a scam charity that has just set up just to take donations and then close," McCrary said.

McCrary says corporate donations are down about 25-percent, making individual donations more important now than ever.



A Charity Gift Tree in a Jackson Grocery Store.



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