Getting smart with philanthropy: Making your dollar count

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become "Giving Tuesday," a global day of giving. There is no shortage of non-profit groups and causes which would appreciate your donation, but how do you decide which charity will receive your gift?

San Diego State Business Professor Congcong Zheng, who studies entrepreneurship and charities had some recommendations.

First, she said you should follow your heart and choose a cause or something that inspires your passion or defines you as an individual.

Second, you should narrow your choice of charities to a list of 7 to 3.

"That’s a manageable number that you can put your brain around," she said.

As for making your final decision, she suggested looking at several sources to learn more about the charity.

Zheng liked Charity Navigator, a website which she described as the "largest, independent charity evaluator."

Charity Navigator gives each charity a rating from one to four stars and evaluates the charity on the basis of their financial operations and their accountability and transparency.

The site also has graphics which indicate how much of your dollar goes to programs and how much is spent on the administrative costs of running the charity.

The last tip from the SDSU professor is to follow up on your investment. Zheng suggested participating in events sponsored by the group or attending meetings for volunteers.

By forging a connection to the group or organization you’re supporting, she said your gift becomes more meaningful. "Don’t just think of it as a transaction.

Take the kids to the food banks, take them to the local Red Cross. Make an experience out of it," she said.

Categories: Local San Diego News