Editorial: Generosity without hassles

Dec. 06, 2012 @ 05:50 PM

Deciding what to do for Christmas is a multiple guess extravaganza for many. For others, it’s a time of dread and woe, hard times making life even tougher as those around bask in the commercialized frenzy.
We offer advice today on different levels.
First, and foremost, keep close to the meaning. This isn’t a holiday with an unmentionable word. It is Christmas, and because of it, there is a holiday.
Second, there’s a lot of ways to celebrate that don’t involve spending money. There is joy in giving, and that can mean time and talent.
We believe the causes dearest to the heart are the best places to invest throughout the year, not just this season. And that investment can be measured in many forms.
If there’s no tug in a particular direction, but there is a tug of wanting to help, a little research is always encouraged. Don’t wait for the charities and help organizations. Go find them.
We’re happy to recommend going online and checking give.org, guidestar.org, charitynavigator.org and charitywatch.org. The information will help disseminate what charities are doing.
To connect in the Tri-County, unitedwayvance.org is has connection link where organizations can post needs and opportunities.
Volunteering with familiar charities is encouraged. Often, friends and family can point the less informed among us to a place of need. Scores of area churches are connected in many ways.
If waiting for the phone to ring and ready to donate, be careful. Ask telemarketers how much of your donation goes to the marketing agency, and how much to the charity organization. Ask how the money will be spent. In North Carolina, it’s the law for telemarketers to answer the question in writing within 14 days.
For local police, firefighters and schools, call or visit them directly and ask questions of how to help them.
Unsolicited emails, texts and social networking posts should be avoided. And not all non-profits are tax deductible. Be sure to ask.
The state attorney general’s office is interested if scammers are found. The phone number is (877) 5NO-SCAM, or (877) 566-7226.
We hope the holidays are a time where the gift is from the heart, where the joy of giving is truly better than receiving.