Family Finance: Donating smartly during the holidays - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Family Finance: Donating smartly during the holidays

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Plenty of people open up their wallets to worthy causes this time of year, but it's crucial to make your money actually goes towards that cause.

As you prepare to shell out your hard-earned money to charity, make sure you do your research. From donating via text messaging to social media, technology makes it extremely easy to give. One of the hottest ways to do that this year is through Crowdfunding, which allows anyone to raise money online for a specific campaign. The tool is extremely popular on social media, but the website's creators do acknowledge they have no way to 100 percent guarantee that a user's page contains accurate or truthful information.

This is the case with many causes you may find yourself wanting to donate to, and consumer expert Ross Howard says this is why donors need to keep several factors in mind.

First, is the charity/campaign open and honest? Are their financials published? Find out exactly how much money goes to the cause, and how much goes to administrative services. Also, ehck and see the organizations 501(c)3 status to make sure you qualify for a tax deduction.

Several websites allow you to check that information for free. Click here and here.

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