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Are Your Charitable Donations Being Spent Wisely?

Criticism of the lack of relief spending by Haiti aid groups highlights the need to check whether your giving is getting results.

It's been a year since an earthquake turned much of Haiti's capital to ruins and Americans generously gave nearly $2 billion to charities to help provide relief to the island nation. Yet, according to a report by Charity Navigator, nearly two-thirds of the money donated for relief efforts remains unspent.

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While some say the charities should have spent more by now to do more, others say relief organizations have acted properly by not rushing to dole out cash (see an NPR report on aid groups' critics and defenders). Regardless of where you stand on the matter, it's a reminder to keep tabs on how the charities you give to use your gifts -- and to always check out groups before you donate to them.

Charity Navigator is a great source of information about how charities spend their money. You also can check out charities at the Better Business Bureau's Web site.

Also use our checklist for evaluating a charity's spending and finances to see whether you should take your donation elsewhere.

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