Perspective: WIS Editorial on charitable giving

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The economy is down, but this holiday season, according to South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond, charitable solicitations are up in our state.  We applaud the spirit of giving, but do your homework before you write a check.  Not every charity makes the most of your donation.

The Secretary of State's Office recently issued its 2008 Scrooges and Angels list to help you give wisely. A couple of local charities made the Angels list this year. The Animal Protection League of SC allocated 93% of its revenue for program activities. And the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Columbia used 87% of its donations for programs.

But the Secretary of State also found many groups that give most of their donations to paid solicitors, not charitable programs. And some of the names may surprise you. The Children's Cancer Fund in Tennessee only used 14% of revenue for program activities. And The National Vietnam Veterans Foundation in Virginia allocated only 11% of revenue for programs.

That is shameful. Every organization that calls itself a charity should put the people it pledges to help first. Don't let them take advantage of you.  Before you donate to charity, make sure you do your homework. You can find the complete Scrooges and Angels list at or call the Secretary of State's office at 1-888-CHARITI. Don't let giving from your heart and give you heartburn.

That's my perspective.  I'd like to hear from you.