--Martin Luther King Jr.
Granted, Dr. King did not have money on his mind when he spoke these words. But they also ring true in your financial life, since giving back is always the right thing. Still, there are more right and less right ways to do it.
- Look beyond the headlines. It's fine to give money to disasters like the tsunami, but don't forget about smaller charities that go wanting.
- Don't give over the phone. Telemarketers often take a cut of 50% or more.
- Focus. Identify a cause that really speaks to you. Then devote most of your energy and charitable dollars to the organizations that best support it.