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Charity Donations
Giving is good; but ensure it is to the Right People!

Phone calls requesting donations are not unusual. Some purport to be on behalf of organisations such as The Heart Foundation and other well-known institutions. They may suggest a regular payment, monthly perhaps, and the setting-up of a direct debit transfer from your bank. If agreed to, it is claimed that the arrangement can be terminated at any time. As long as the source of the request is verified as genuine there is little risk. In the past, we have donated in this way without problems. What must be remembered is that a portion of the sum donated will be swallowed up by admin costs which is quite legitimate. In recent times, however, scammers are constantly banking on the generosity of people, especially those who are happy to give a few dollars to help fund research projects or charities supporting the disadvantaged and needy. These criminals target the unwary and gullible: so BEWARE !!! Never give out personal or financial details unless 110% certain that the caller does actually represent the organisation they claim it to be. Always check with the institution directly via a phone number or email address that has been gleaned from an alternative source to the one recommended by the caller. Chances are that a few of these appeals are bogus - click on their links and you could be in all sorts of trouble. As a safeguard, have a look at our Internet Tips articles on how to verify their authenticity.

Telethons are conducted in many countries; but I'd like to mention one we have every year in Western Australia. Televised on Channel 7, it runs for 24 hours non-stop with entertainment provided by local artists as well as famous international stars. While this is going on, a large team of telephone operators are taking the calls of people ringing in to pledge their individual donations; and although these can be small amounts such as a few dollars saved by children from their pocket money, it all adds up. Combined with the sometimes-massive contributions of corporate entities, the final amount is pretty staggering. I believe our Channel 7 Telethon holds the world record for donations which are in the tens of millions. The beauty of this is that all of the profits are distributed to charities which help to improve the lives of those in need. Here is one genuine worthwhile cause.

There are plenty of charities around aiding the poor, the homeless and those in need of drug or alcohol rehabilitation, and most are genuine. Often they are run by volunteers, and they aren't always supported by government cash injections, so they tend to struggle. By all means contribute to these charities; or you can volunteer your time to help them out in a more practical way. In some instances things like clothing, blankets and other household items are most welcome; also donations of non-perishable food. Certainly give what you can if you are able to afford it. But please remember - overstretch your finances by donating too much and you could end up as a charity case yourself.

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