Money Talk News: Tips for smart charitable giving

Money Talks News - With no home and not enough work, Elisha and Raymond McAteer  turned to It's Life Net 4 Families, for help.

"We've been going through bad situation for a little bit of time. Jobs cutting hours, less salaries. It was getting to the point where we couldn't even pay rent for our own home anymore," McAteer said.

The organization said it's about getting families back on their feet. They take individuals and families in and provide hot meals and showers for them every day.

They also provide boxes of food for people that need that little extra at the end of the month. They have food stamp programs, crisis management.

The first step in finding the right charity is to finding one whose mission is your passion. But that's not the only step. There are some other things you need to know.

First, do some research. Find the most efficient charity at accomplishing your goal, using services like charity navigator, the BBB, Guidestar or Charity Watch. Can't find financial info? Just ask.

Next, avoid middle-men. Always give directly to a charity if you can, not to some telephone solicitor. They're taking a huge cut. And finally, if it's possible, get involved yourself. Donate your time in addition to your money.

When it comes to charities, don't even think of writing checks until you've done some checks. And get yourself involved. You're going to feel a lot better about what you're doing. For a few more tips to make sure you've got the right charity, go to the Money Talks News Website and do a search for "charities."

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