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When Giving This Season, Choose Wisely; Matching Donors with Charities Can Be a Daunting Task


New York, NY -- December 16, 2004 -- Each December, millions of Americans embrace the spirit of giving by making a Holiday donation to a worthwhile charity. But for the first time giver, choosing one recipient from thousands of organizations can be a difficult task.

Ami Dar, Executive Director of the online nonprofit resource, offers tips for choosing the appropriate recipient of a charitable donation this Holiday season.

Choosing a charity

According to Dar, the worthy organization should reflect one’s own beliefs and interests. “Think about what interests you - like the environment, poverty, or human rights. Look for organizations that address that interest, those with beliefs that mirror your own.”

The online directory lists 43,000 nonprofit organizations worldwide, making it a natural starting point for identifying a potential beneficiary. “Once you’ve focused on an issue of interest, search the database for organizations that work on that issue. Contact those that match your interests - together you can determine how you and your family can support them, through a monetary donation or even volunteer work.”

Per U.S. tax law, a charitable donation can be deducted, provided the recipient meets guidelines provided by the Internal Revenue Service. There are a number of online resources available to identify such charities, called “IRS 501(c)(3) certified organizations,” including:

-- IRS Publication 78 provides a complete listing of all 501(c)(3) organizations, and IRS Publication 526 offers information on IRS rules regarding charitable contributions.

-- the national database of nonprofit organizations, facilitating access to information about the operations and finances of nonprofits.

-- the online home of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

Taking the next step

Making a charitable donation can also be a springboard to getting more involved with a worthwhile cause.

In addition to its online nonprofit directory, lists nearly 10,000 available volunteer opportunities with organizations around the world. Plus, the online Idealist Volunteer Center ( provides information for individuals interested in volunteering in their community, from guides for volunteering wisely, to information on using volunteer experience on a resume.

“The dialogue between you and your organization of choice should begin - not end - with your charitable contribution,” comments Dar. “Almost all nonprofit organizations lack the resources - not only financial, but human - to accomplish their annual goals. Donating your time and skills will benefit these organizations, and ultimately those they’re committed to serving, by helping them meet those goals.”


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