Giving Tuesday: Choosing the right charity

Giving Tuesday: Choosing the right charity

SPOKANE, Wash. - On the heels of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, we have Giving Tuesday. It's a day when thousands of charities ask us to dig in our wallets and give back.

Last year, more than 700,000 people raised more than $116,000,00 for charities in over 70 countries. But how can you be sure your donated money isn't being misused?

The Better Business Bureau says comparison shopping isn't just a key strategy to nab holiday deals.

"We see a lot of people kind of coming out of the wood work, helping a family at Christmas time, a GoFundMe page here and there. You just want to make sure [you] do that extra step of finding out do you know truly where the money is going," Kirstin Davis with the Better Business Bureau said.

There are several sites to help you do just that, showing how much a given charity spends on overhead rather than services.

GiveWell.org will tell you what a charity can do with your donation. The site recommends a few charities that accomplish the most in terms of lives saved or improved.

CharityNavigator.org ranks charities based on financial health, transparency and accountability. For example, 2nd Harvest in Spokane ranks four out of four stars because nearly 99 percent of its total expenses are spent on its programs and services. Catholic Charities ranks four starts as well.

You can look up a charity to ensure it's legitimate on BBB.org where there's also a scam tracker tool to report fraudulent organizations.

"You can put that information in there and then that allows us to compare that information with other like stories and see if they connect. Then we can work with law enforcement to see what we can do," Davis said.

If you're short on cash, you can still give back. Consider donating blood or volunteering at a food bank or shelter.