Focus at Four: Charitable giving during the holidays

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The holiday season is almost upon us, and historically, Americans tend to be more generous to charitable organizations during this time of year, especially in light of the most recent natural disasters. But how many of us really know how our donations are being spent?

Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief, gave some suggestions on First News at Four Thursday when it comes to charitable giving.

Tighe says donors should be aware of red flags to look out for when getting phone solicitations. These include:

Urgency: You shouldn't be made to feel rushed into donating – a reputable organization will understand if you need a few days to decide and do some research on the charity in question.

Vague Details: Don't be afraid to ask exactly how your money will be used, and what percentage of cash donations goes to people in need (vs going to payroll or telemarketing). With the worst offending charities, only 2-3% of cash donations actually go to those in need.

The Name Game: Many organizations deliberately choose names similar to existing, well respected non-profits in an effort to mislead prospective donors into thinking they're the same or affiliated.

For more information check on the video interview above. For the Charity Navigator website, see the Related Links.