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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

10 Tips for Charitable Giving

July 23, 2015 1:18 am

It’s an unfortunate reality – the potential for giving scams becomes greater in the wake of a tragedy. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, donors should take care when giving to organizations claiming to support efforts to minimize the aftermath of a tragedy. If you’re considering making a donation, remember to:

1. Give Thoughtfully – Take the time to check out the charity to avoid donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance.

2. Check Registration – About 40 of the 50 United States require charities to register with a state government agency (usually a division of the State Attorney General’s office) before they solicit for charitable gifts. If the charity is not registered, that may be a significant red flag.

3. Respect Victims and Their Families – Organizations raising funds should have gotten permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them.

4. Verify Where Donations Go – How will your donation help? Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. In addition, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds collected quickly will be spent just as quickly. See if the appeal identifies when the collected funds will be used.

5. Look for Transparency – After funds are raised, it’s important for organizations to provide an accounting of how funds were spent. Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so that anyone can find out and not have to wait until the audited financial statements are available.

6. Exercise Caution with Assistance Funds – Some families may decide to set up their own assistance funds. Be mindful that such funds may not be set up as charities. Make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or lawyer. This will help provide oversight and ensure the collected funds are used appropriately.

7. Note Advocacy Organizations – Tragedies can also generate requests from a variety of advocacy organizations. Donors can support these efforts, but note that some of these advocacy groups are not tax exempt as charities. Be wary of newly created advocacy groups.

8. Avoid Unfamiliar Links – Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.

9. Opt for Established Organizations – This is a personal giving choice, but an established charity will more likely have the experience to quickly address the circumstances and have a track record that can be evaluated. A newly formed organization may mean well, but may not be well managed.

10. Review Tax Deductibility – Not all organizations are tax exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donors can support these entities if desired. Contributions that are donor-restricted to help a specific individual or family are not deductible as charitable donations, even if the recipient organization is a charity.

Source: BBB.org

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Check Credit before Considering a Move

July 23, 2015 1:18 am

(Family Features) When planning to buy a home, your first of order of business shouldn’t be creating a wish list – it should be reviewing your credit. While it’s possible to buy a home without a mortgage, most people don't have that kind of cash, and your credit is a major factor in lender decisions.

"Before applying for any loan, be sure to check the state of your credit," says CreditRepair.com President Scott Smith. "Owning a home is a big part of the American dream, but home loans can be very complex, and doing all of the proper research from the beginning, including completing any necessary credit repair up front, will make the process that much simpler."

Smith recommends homebuyers follow these tips to evaluate their credit report and/or rectify any errors.

Get a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each year by law. In some states, you are entitled to more than one free report a year.

Analyze your credit report. Carefully scrutinize your report to identify any errors that can help boost your score and request corrections for all erroneous information.

Keep all credit card accounts open. Closing an unused credit card account can actually negatively affect your credit. Fifteen percent of your score is based on credit history.

Make all payments on time.
Payment history accounts for a whopping 35 percent of your credit score.

Give yourself time. Good things do come to those who wait. Take the time to repair and build up your credit. It could save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Source: CreditRepair.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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