Posted by Billy Newman on Aug 2, 2011 | 243 comments
Practicing philanthropy is a noble cause, but such compassion should come with caution. You should always know who you are giving your money to when practicing philanthropy, because there are many people and organizations disguising themselves as genuine charity organizations. This makes philanthropy a problematic undertaking, although not an impossible one. When giving money to a selected charity, consider taking precautionary measures to avoid being scammed.
Evaluate your current income and decide whether you make enough to afford being philanthropic. No amount of money is too small, but you should know that whatever you do set aside should be calculated as part of your budget. Establish a yearly amount that you can afford to give.
Learn about all the charities with causes that interest you. Try to get as much information as you can about them before giving your money. Charities should be open to sharing their mission, financial report, and any other information that you want to know before making a philanthropic commitment. Ask for a copy of their annual report and try to pull together a full picture of the charity’s objective. Be wary of any organization that is not willing to share this information. Unfortunately, there are many organizations that disguise themselves as charity organizations, but their objective is to simply steal your money.
Be certain that the organization you are interested in is both licensed and registered according to state and federal requirements. If the organization has gone as far as becoming established in some manner, then the likelihood is that it has some credibility. Don’t let this be the only way of determining its validity, however.
Stay away from any organization that insists that you give money immediately, and without time to consider your options. Philanthropy is a very personal undertaking and you should be certain of an organization and its cause before giving money. Any organization rushing or bullying you into handing over money, or even making you feel guilty about a cause, should be avoided. You need to be comfortable about any charity before giving money. And always trust your instinct.
Be cautious about any charity with a name that sounds familiar. Make sure that it is legitimate by doing your research. There are many watchdog groups dedicated to confirming which charity organizations are valid and which ones are not.
When giving money to charity, always write a check. This way you will have a record of your philanthropic gesture. Donations of more than $250.00 need to be proven with a receipt that also states the charity organization’s name. Ensure that the charity does maintain tax exempt status if you plan on deducting your donated amount when filing your taxes.
Understand that not all of your charitable contribution will go toward your chosen organization. Usually a percentage will go toward fundraising and administration expenses. Ideally you should practice philanthropy with organizations that submit a minimum of 60% of your donation to your chosen cause.
Don’t allow a charity organization to bribe you into donating your money. Many organizations offer a gift in return for a monetary donation. Determine a cause and be passionate about it. Only allow your desire to help a specific cause be your determining factor. If there happens to be a gift, consider that a bonus.
Remember that practicing philanthropy is a subjective act. However, there are impartial steps that must be taken to ensure that your funds are used in the manner that you intended. There is only so much that you can know about where and how your money is used exactly. But if you do your homework and give your money to a credible and well known charity, you can be sure that at least your funds will go toward a cause that you are very passionate about.
Posted by Billy Newman on Jul 21, 2011 | 1,951 comments
In the wake of the economic crisis and numerous natural disasters, people begin to think more about donating to help others overcome their financial setbacks. During “Hope for Haiti Now” more than $58 million alone was raised through credit card donations. Many of the credit card companies will allow customers to donate their rewards points to other clients. This is a new and convenient way to help those in need.
Citi Card Members
The American Red Cross allows Citi Card Members to donate any Thank You points earned to a charity. Most of these members can donate points in $50 or $100 intervals. Currently, 5000 points are needed to donate $50, and 10,000 points are needed to donate $100. The money will be used to provide relief for disasters, health emergencies and other humanitarian crises around the world. Gift cards are also used to donate cash to clients.
American Express Card Members
AMEX card holders can donate their rewards through the GivingExpress program. This program will allow consumers to donate to any earned rewards program of choice. The program is designed to allow people to earn points on the card for each dollar that is donated. Recurring donations can also be automatically set up for ease of the card holder.
Taxes are a synch with American Express. Consumers can track the donations easily through a program established by the card company. When consumers are ready to file taxes, they simply only have to confirm the donation and print the detailed record for each donation made.
Discover Card Members
American Red Cross also has a partnership with American Red Cross. Using points or the cash back program is a way to donate to charity without ruining your monthly budget. Simply donate the cash that you have not redeemed to the nearest charity.
During the Haiti Relief fund, Discover waived the transaction fees for donations to the following organizations: American Red Cross, Americares, Direct Relief International, CARE USA, Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Corps, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, Oxfam America, World Vision and U.S. Fund for Unicef. ‘
Discover has a website where clients can give to their chosen charity. Visit the website at https://discover.justgive.org/index.jsp. Card holders simply enter the charity of choice on Discover’s approved list and click the “Donate Now” button. This will help make donations easier.
Capital One also allows its card holders to donate rewards to charities. They allow contributions through the No Hassle Giving Site. The website has nearly 1.2 million charity options for the card holder to contribute. Capital One has one of the most comprehensive websites of any card available.
Other Card Holders
Call the credit card company and request information about the credit card’s giving options. Most credit card companies have at least a few options for donating money. Inquire with customer service for more information.
Consumers should be aware that when crisis strikes get-rich scams also ensue. Donating through a credit card will minimize the potential for giving to an incredulous charity. Charity credibility may be established through charitynavigator.org, according the the New York Times. Nothing would be more disheartening than losing money to someone when you are trying to help.
Always determine the fees associated with donating to charity and verify that the donation is tax deductible. Tax deductions are a good incentive to give to local charities. Accountants can verify which fees are tax deductible.
While giving is considered favorable in the eyes of most, the act of giving should be done with caution through reputable organizations. Allow your credit card company to help you give in a safe and stress-free manner.
Posted by Billy Newman on Nov 2, 2010 | 1,490 comments
The many types of animals that roam the lands of Africa are what make this continent a landmark for the abundant amount of wildlife it preserves. Wildlife ranges from the small and the innocent to the large and ferocious. People from all over the world vacation in Africa just to get a glimpse of the wild animals that are not found anywhere else on the planet.
These animals can include the giraffe, the long-necked mammal that eats from trees and tall plants as well as lions, leopards and cheetahs, always on the hunt for their next prey. The cheetah, which is known for having spots, is the world’s fastest land animal, reaching speeds of up to 113 miles per hour. Now that’s fast! One of Africa’s largest forms of wildlife is the rhinoceros, a very large mammal with a distinctive horn on the middle of its nose which it uses to fight off threats by other large mammals.
Of all the dangerous wildlife life found on the African continent, the buffalo, which can be spotted near any source of water, travel in herds and have an outstanding sense of smell. Rhino’s are very intelligent animals, which make up for their bad hearing and eyesight.
An animal most people find entertaining is the chimp, or chimpanzee. Just as intelligent as a human, chimps often defend themselves by throwing rocks or large sticks at threatening predators on the hunt for prey. Known for being really noisy, chimpanzees have character, but can also be very dangerous if threatened.
Africa’s not only famous for the animals that roam the land, but also for the ones that occupy the sky. Day or night, you will find something up above soaring in the clouds. Bats can be seen circling the night sky as these night-flying creatures search for insects to feed on as well as fruits and seeds. If you’re scared of bats, you may want to explore the land during daylight hours, as species upon species fill the skies, awakening from their long day of rest.
No matter what kind of adventure you’re looking for, Africa’s wildlife will sure suit your needs. The excitement of seeing animals in their natural habitat is one you will never forget. Wildlife in Africa lives free. They make this large continent what it is; a land filled with animals that live life in the wild. No matter where you look, you will find some kind of animal lurking. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, even with a tour guide showing the way. Entering a territory full of exotic and wild creatures is dangerous and should be taken seriously. Lovers of the wild and the animals it inhabits will lead them straight to the lands of Africa, home of the wildlife.
Posted by Billy Newman on Sep 11, 2010 | 148 comments
The time has come for you to finally take some time off and enjoy the world, travel someplace where you can relax and forget about all your problems, and the worries of your job. You have been thinking about your vacation for months now and you are beyond excited about going, but in this excitement, you must not forget that you must take care of yourself while you’re away. You must make sure that you take everything with you that will assist in keeping your mind, body, and soul healthy, while you are enjoying life. How can you do this?
The first thing you want to do is make sure that you have all proper immunizations before going on your trip. You also want to make sure you don’t need to be immunized for where you are headed as well. This is very important when traveling to different countries you don’t really know much about. If you plan to take food with you to eat while traveling, make sure you include plenty of fruits and vegetables that are fresh. Make sure they are properly stored while you are traveling and be sure to drink bottled or boiled water. If you don’t take your own food, then be sure to select your food carefully when buying them from other places.
As far as your clothing is concerned, be sure to include clothing that will protect you while traveling, regardless of what the weather might be. If you are traveling through cold weather, you want to make sure you have the proper attire to keep you from getting sick. If it is going to be hot, be sure to include your sunglasses and sunscreen, which will protect your skin and eyes from the sun. Pack a medical kit. This kit should include your prescriptions and other medications in the event you should need them. One quick tip that could lower your costs significantly is visiting a discount site like Savoo. From there, you can check discounts for all the supplies and clothing you will need before your trip. You never know what can happen while traveling and it is much safer to plan ahead.
Something else you might want to consider while traveling is taking along certain documents that can speak for you and your health in case there is a time that you cannot. Accidents happen all the time. This is not to scare you but to make sure that you prepare yourself for the inevitable. The worst thing you can do is not prepare and have something happen that you can do nothing about. Your documents should consist of your medical history, license and any passports needed, and anything that verifies who you are and where you live. These documents will be of great assistance if you are ever stopped by a police officer, have to visit a hospital, or get stuck and/or loss somewhere.
It is also very important that you keep yourself clean, washing your hands frequently. It may help if you pack a hand sanitizer for times when you are unable to wash your hands. If you are driving, be sure to include some type of back support, so that when you arrive at your destination, you will be able to enjoy yourself. You will also need to stretch after sitting for long periods of time to keep your muscles from tightening up. This can make traveling very uncomfortable.
Overall, enjoy yourself and forget about all your worries. After all, you are going on vacation!
Posted by Billy Newman on Sep 9, 2010 |