What to know before making a donation on Giving Tuesday

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- The season of giving is here, but how can you be sure you're giving wisely? The United Way of Madison County offers the following tips on how to best support your favorite nonprofits.

1) Don't unintentionally overwhelm nonprofits serving during this time of year. Before you give, ASK WHAT THEY OR THEIR CLIENTS NEED! They know best. Look for holiday shopping/wish lists. You can learn about various nonprofits in Madison County through the Volunteer Center of Madison County or 211connectsalabama.org.

2) Think about gifts that give back if you have all you need. Giving Tuesday is a perfect time to give and your dollars go further when you give to United Way because you impact 35 programs helping thousands of people each year and addressing targeted critical needs. You can easily give through their website or through their Facebook page.

3) VOLUNTEER! In October, over 275 hours in giving hearts - valued at nearly $6,000 - was given to nonprofits in Madison County. You can be a part of that impact. Be a 'Kidney Clause', by helping pack stockings for kidney disease patients with the AL Kidney Foundation. Be a Bell Ringer with the Salvation Army or help with Angle Tree. Learn more about becoming a United Way Elf! And in the new year - join the United Way 211 Ambassador Corp!

4) Sometimes what's most needed is money for services. While we are taking care of holiday special needs, the year-round needs don't stop. That's not an inappropriate choice.

5) Think of the forgotten - and perhaps choose a population like our foster teens, our disabled community, our seniors, as well as those who are living in poverty.

6) No gift is too small.

7) Share with others in your circles so we in Madison County can recognize that amidst our prosperous times, there are those in need. We can embrace the spirit of giving and make sure everyone has a happy holiday.

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