Category Archives: Research & Tips

Donating to Wikipedia: What You Should Know

It’s that time of year again. As the Christmas lights go up, Wikipedia’s donation drive starts. Wikipedia states that the donations are needed to keep the site online. Guilt-tripped folks have contributed to Wikipedia in the belief that their money helps fund operating costs. Students, who are already in debt, are urged to donate in case Wikipedia fades away.

But what Wikipedia doesn’t tell us is that it is loaded with cash, raising way more money every year than it needs to keep going.

Donations are funding a massive expansion in research projects and professional administrative staff. Amazingly, Wikipedia has found the money to fund a lobbyist.

All this has been met with disappointment by the loyal enthusiasts who do all the hard work of keeping the project afloat by contributing and editing words. They aren’t paid. For the first time, Wikipedians are starting to investigate the cash awards and are making some fascinating discoveries.

First, let’s have a look at the finances.

The original intention based on the words by co-founder Jimmy Wales, was to fund Wikipedia through advertising money. He stated, “If Wikipedia were to get very successful, in terms of web traffic, then it would be simple to introduce just enough advertising to continue to cover expenses.”

In 2006 Wales rejected that choice and pointed out other revenue sources like leveraging the brand into television, games, radio. But he left the door to advertising open just in case it was wanted.

Today, the funding is organized by a non-profit corporation, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF). The growth in funding has been spectacular. In 2006, the foundation had just three employees, and functioned on a $3m budget. In 2007 evaluators at Charity Navigator gave WMF only one star for efficiency. The Wikimedia Foundation employed a convicted felon as its COO to look after its books while she was on parole. The executive’s convictions included check fraud and unlawfully shooting her boyfriend in the chest.

Need Help with Funeral Costs? Take a Look at These Charities

Coping with a death is never easy but financial worries can increase the difficulties in this heartbreaking circumstance.

Financial assistance is available to aid in paying for some or all the funeral or burial costs of a parent or loved one. The resources from charities and the government concentrate on the working poor, senior citizens, and low-income families who live on a limited income and lack assets. Others could qualify for help in paying for funeral costs when they are faced with a need.

Some counties and states could give direct financial aid for paying bills and other expenses that might be gained from a funeral. The government may offer other help as well, like free caskets for the poor, the indigent, and very low-income families. Or they may pay for transportation (out of state death) or cremation costs. Or, individuals can research services offered by the Funeral Consumers Alliance, which gives advice and help a family have an affordable and dignified service for their loved ones.

Non-profit advice and referrals for funerals

The Funeral Consumers Alliance is a nonprofit organization that offer families resources and educational materials on funeral choices. The organization covers all facets of burying a loved one, whether it is a child or parent. The organization can counsel individuals on affordable funeral choices that might be available to them. Additionally, the programs offered may help folks work out a service that meets their budget and fits their financial and personal situation.

However, a family’s own budget is the deciding factor in what someone can pay for a funeral or burial. An assessment of their assets will typically be done, varying from investments and savings to life insurance policies. The non-profit will aid clients in understanding the process and future costs.

Veterans’ Charities: Best and Worst

CharityWatch.org keeps tabs on the worst and best veterans’ charities you can donate to on behalf of the brave men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform. The organization grades every charity using an A-F scale:

Best choices among veterans’ charities:

  • Fisher House Foundation (A+)
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (A)
  • Wounded Warriors Family Support (A)
  • Wounded Warriors Family Support (A)
  • Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A)
  • Homes for Our Troops (A)
  • Bob Woodruff Family Foundation (A)
  • Gary Sinise Foundation (A)
  • Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind (A)
  • Hope For The Warriors (A-)
  • National Military Family Association (A)
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (A)
  • Operation Homefront (A)
  • Semper Fi Fund (A+)
  • Team Rubicon (A-)

Avoid these veterans’ charities:

  • Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (F)
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America (F)
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (F)
  • AMVETS National Service Foundation (F)

How to make your donation work for any charity

Before donating to any charity, you should know the precautions to take to guarantee that the money will go where it’s needed.

  • Don’t give cash. Real charities take checks and money orders.
  • Don’t provide bank account, personal information, or credit card information to telemarketers. In fact, you should be suspicious of telemarketers. If you want to donate, you should be the one who instigates the call.
  • Don’t give to online charities if the cause does not look genuine and doesn’t check out. Traditional scamming has gone internet in recent time, giving con artists easy access to millions of potential victims.
  • Check out the charity with the authorities. Established charities are registered with the IRS. You can look for particular non-profit organizations on the IRS website.
  • Report abuses to the State Attorney General’s office and the BBB. You can also report abuses to the National Fraud Information Center or at Fraud.org.