the Social Diary ~
on-line magazine covering High Society ..& more
Contributions - the good, the great, and the ugly
January 23rd, 2006
the Social Diary Columnist & Photographer
After being contacted by several charity
supporters about their encounters and concerns, I decided to write
the following as a public service note.
First, if you care about where your money
actually goes, make sure the charity you support is
a 501 (C) 3 organization. This means it has a tax
ID number and is regulated by the State. This ensures that the
proper amount of your ticket actually does indeed become a donation
to the cause designated. Before you say so what, check. Not only
is it nice to know the charity is legitimate, but also that you
get your tax deduction.
Navigator is a great resource for checking
out the details of not only whether the organization is legal,
but how much of the dollars collected are put to good use and
not superfluous overhead.
Second, there has been a rising
concern about full disclosure on auction items.
There are great auction prizes out there. There are also the very
few rare ones with interesting hidden details.
For example, a private jet to an exotic
locale with 8 of your friends. Seemed great on the surface. Turns
out the hotel is not a hotel anymore but a location for selling
expensive ocean front vacation homes. It gets better. The salesperson
for the venture was going to go on the plane with the prize winners.
Paying to have a salesperson try to
sell you on a vacation home for a long weekend?…. Would
have been fine if the buyers of the prize had been disclosed this
information at bidding time. But they weren't.
Other examples are overstated values for
prizes. Again, legitimate sources provide legitimate auction prizes,
and legitimate tax write offs.
Bottom line, be informed, be wise. If you
buy a car, you investigate thoroughly first. You should do the
same with charities and charities need to screen unknown auction
donations with a tougher eye.
* Margo Schwab has
produced, written, interviewed and photographed for various media
organizations since 1989. Schwab has a Masters of Business
degree from the University of San Diego.
Schwab volunteers for numerous charity organizations. She also
continues to lobby for water safety and for family violence mitigation.
Schwab is the owner and publisher of the Social Diary.
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