During the Holiday season there are many opportunities to give, but sometimes there are so many, we have to decide which ones to support.
First of all, it's important to find an organization or cause that you're passionate about, but you also want to look into how that organization is using your donated dollars.
Non-profit organizations use donated funds to meet the needs of many individuals, but they also have to deal with the costs of doing business.
"That's a big deal, people in Sioux Falls are frugal, they want to make sure that when they give, it's going to the right place, it's being administered the right way and its not going for a bunch of overhead," said Dave Long with the United Way.
Overhead like rent, utilities and supplies are one expense many non-profits can't avoid.
"In order to provide these things we still have costs such as building costs or lights," said Sioux Empire Red Cross Director Nancy Hanneman.
In Sioux Falls, many non-profits are located in the same low-cost area, even sharing meeting space in the Center for Non-Profits.
Sometimes those buildings can be a service in themselves. Starting December 1st, the gym at the Salvation Army Center will become a warming center for the homeless during the winter.
Another big expense are salaries, some for administrative purposes and other for hands on work in the community.
"We have people who specialize in case work, people who work with children, we have people who work at the thrift store," said Salvation Army Major Thomas Riggs.
Administrative salaries are one thing to check for. In many cases they can range from $500,000 to over one million dollars for the head executive directors of national organizations.
But Sioux Empire Red Cross Director Nancy Hanneman says potential donors should also look at the benefits those administrators are bringing to their organizations.
"Looking at what she makes as a salary, but also what she brings back and brings to the organization," said Hanneman.
These charities say they encourage people to dig deep and ask questions before they donate.
"That's the time to ask a lot of questions and make sure that you know where your dollar is going," said Hanneman.
Nearly all non-profit organizations should have a breakdown of how every dollar you give is spent. For example, the above organizations said between 80 and over 90 cents of every dollar donated is directly applied to the services their organization provides.
To check into any charitable organization, you can call or stop by their local office or look them up online. Here are two helpful websites: Charity Navigator and Charity Watch
Thursday, April 17 2014 10:13 AM EDT2014-04-17 14:13:31 GMT
Two Sheldon residents are behind bars today. An 11 month long joint investigation between the Sheldon Police Department and the Iowa State Fire Marshall's Office into the 05-14-13 fire which destroyedMore >>
An 11 month long joint investigation between the Sheldon Police Department and the Iowa State Fire Marshall's Office into the 05-14-13 fire which destroyed the Buddz's Sports Bar and Grill in Sheldon, Iowa, has resulted in the arrest of two Sheldon residents on charges of arson.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 9:54 AM EDT2014-04-17 13:54:39 GMT
Sioux falls has seen its second murder of 2014 and again, the victim is a woman in her 50's. It happened in a home on the 5600 block of Misty Glen Place in southwest Sioux Falls. Neighbors were surprisedMore >>
Sioux Falls has seen its second murder of 2014 and again, the victim is a woman in her 50's.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-04-17 04:07:12 GMT
The community of De Smet has been raising funds for a new community wellness and events center for the past year. Last week, the town was till half a million dollars short and many people feared the projectMore >>
People in De Smet came together to raise nearly half a million dollars to complete a new community center. More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:01 AM EDT2014-04-17 04:01:04 GMT
CUSTER, S.D. (AP) - Visitors will have to pay more to tour the two National Park Service caves in the Black Hills starting April 30. The service on Wednesday announced fee increases for tours at JewelMore >>
Park Superintendent Vidal Davila says the fees fund facility upgrades. He says the increases were discussed at public meetings.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:48:46 GMT
For the past two weeks, many people in Brandon have noticed a not-so-pleasant odor. The bad odor is coming from the city's waste water lagoons. The smell has been around since the lagoons were built inMore >>
The bad odor is coming from the city's waste water lagoons. The smell has been around since the lagoons were built in the 1980s, but the city's recent growth has made the odor much more noticeable.More >>