United Way urges you to think with your head, not just your heart when giving back

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Tis the season to give, and many will reach deep into their pockets to make those last-minute donations to charities before they ring in the New Year. But before you click 'Donate,' do you know where your money is headed or who it is helping? The United Way of Madison County encourages you to pay close attention.

"There are a lot of scams going on out there through social media sometimes, phone calls, those sorts of things," said Cathy Miller, Community Impact Director for the United Way of Madison County.

Miller says keeping it local helps weed some of the bad ones out. "If you invest local you can go to that entity and say “ok, I gave you $10, $100, or $10,000 so what did you do with it?" said Miller.

Doing your research isn't a bad idea either, like checking how much of their funding goes towards administrative costs.

"You find out 90 percent of their money is going to admin fees? That’s an agency you want to stay away from, because that means only about 10 percent is going towards the cause, if that," said Miller.

With only a day left to donate, it may be hard to do too much investigating. That's where the United Way comes in. "I spend a lot of time interacting with our carefully selected partners," said Miller.

That includes 29 organizations and 42 programs total. "Monitoring them informally all the time, asking them to actually formally report to us on financials and results," said Miller.

Each working separately and together to aid the community. "If you want your money to do something important, it's important to take those first few steps," said Miller. "I see the need growing in the community and it's absolutely an important time to donate.”

If you'd like to donate to the United Way you can do so online by going to their website, https://volunteer.truist.com/cwomc-5/donate/

Or by mail, at:

United Way of Madison County
701 Andrew Jackson Way
Huntsville, Alabama 35801