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'Tis the Season for Giving in MN, but Watch for the Grinch

GRAPHIC: The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota says beware scammers and less than savory charities who try to tug on your heartstrings during the holidays. CREDIT: John Michaelson
GRAPHIC: The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota says beware scammers and less than savory charities who try to tug on your heartstrings during the holidays. CREDIT: John Michaelson
December 26, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. - With the end of the year approaching, many people across Minnesota will be making donations to charitable causes, but they're being told to do their homework first.

Dan Hendrickson, communications coordinator with the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, says one thing to check is how much of your dollar will actually go to good works.

"You really want to make sure that you're not giving to an organization that takes 80 percent of the money and pays it out in salaries and so forth. The purpose of that charity is really intended to sustain itself and not really to help people."

Hendrickson says they suggest giving only to organizations that spend 65 percent or more of their money on their charitable purpose. Online resources for checking out groups include CharityNavigator.org and Give.org.

Another critical piece of advice on giving, says Hendrickson, is to be aware that some groups will use names resembling other charities, hoping to collect on the confusion.

"Sometimes an unscrupulous organization will throw up a charity or a charitable website that's very similar to a known charity, and just try to cash in on their name. So, again, it's important to really be sure you know who you're dealing with."

It's also said you should never feel pressured to give immediately, because a real charity would be happy to wait a couple days for a donation to give you time to check the organization out.

More information is at Minnesota.BBB.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN