Mississippians should check charity before donating - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippians should check charity before donating

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By Ashley Conroy

Jackson, MS (WLBT) - Mississippians are known for their charitable spirit, especially when it comes to veterans causes.

Better Business Bureau Director Bill Moak said that often in the act of giving to veterans, it's the emotion that causes donors to act before they think about giving.

"It's very important to stop and don't let yourself be pressured, or don't let the emotion guide your decision," Moak said.

The Report on Charitable Organizations in Mississippi from the Secretary of State's office, is a 300-plus page report that shows where Mississippians are giving money.

Moak said that at least 65 percent should go back to the charitable cause and the rest towards administrative costs.

In the report it shows that 78.6 percent of the funds from the Wounded Warrior Project went back to the cause.

However, with the National Veterans Service Fund, only 22 percent went back to the charitable cause.

The Mississippi Center for Non-Profits said when this happens, it could mean bad business.

"If a non-profit really follows best practices, they should be able to allocate their budgets, so that you can really get a sense of where those program dollars are going," Executive Director Mark McCrary said.

On the other hand, McCrary says that those donating should understand that certain costs should go back to the organizations' overhead expenses.

"If you can't pay rent, you don't have an office, you don't have programs for kids, you don't have veterans in hospitals, you don't have veterans programs," said McCrary.

Moak recommends for anyone who wants to donate, to ask for a financial report, an annual report and even for references on that charity.

In addition, he said you can go to www.bbb.org for a financial report on a certain charity.

The Secretary of State's office said if you want additional information to call their office at (888) 236-6167 or go to www.sos.ms.gov

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