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Where Are Your Charity Dollars Going?
CNBC.com | December 09, 2010 | 04:37 PM EST

As America napped off Thanksgiving dinner, began Christmas shopping, and lit menorahs, mailboxes across the nation were filling up with year-end donation appeals from charities.

But how can you determine which charities best deserve your dollars? There’s no definitive answer, due in part to individual preferences of causes, but donors also need to consider the ethics and effectiveness of their preferred charities, and decide how they want their donations spent. Taking the time to become more savvy and selective about charitable donations can ensure that your money is helping in the way you intend, not lining someone else’s pockets.

One public resource for investigating charities is the Foundation Center , which allows access to organizations’ IRS records, but services such as Charity Navigator , The Better Business Bureau’s Give.org , and the American Institute of Philanthropy’s CharityWatch.org have already crunched the numbers on hundreds of charities and rated them accordingly.

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