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'It becomes extra important' Local organizations give tips for holiday donating challenges

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Christmas-time is often known as the "season of giving."

Sometimes people can feel obligated to donate, even if they cannot afford it.

On top of that, fraudulent so-called "non-profits" can take advantage of people.

Some may feel guilty when unable to donate to charitable organizations.

During challenging economic times in a busy holiday season, it can be more difficult to give.

Organizations like Manna from Seven rely on donations.

The group gives around 20,000 pounds of food to around 400 families every Friday.

"Not only is that important for us to give them food throughout the year, but it becomes extra important when you're thinking about your own holiday celebrations. You want them to be able to celebrate as well," said Susan Seitz of Manna from Seven.

Danielle Isbell is the director of resource development at the United Way.

She says it is better to narrow in on a cause you are passionate about and donate larger anounts to one group.

That is instead of donating small amounts in several places.

She says that can help you get the most bang for your buck.

Many organizations get matching funds for your money.

"If donors donate a dollar here, five dollars there, they're really spreading that to a lot of places, which might seem like a good thing, but they're almost a mile wide and an inch deep," said Isbell.

Isbell also says it is good to be on the lookout for where your money is going.

Organizations like Manna from Seven and the United Way generally make the most out of your donations.

Some online causes may not spend your money where you think they will.

"Anyone can go create a Go Fund Me and tell you that it's going to something specific, but they don't follow through with that. There's no vetting of that purpose," said Isbell.

Volunteers like Penny Frederick of Manna from Seven say this is why they spend your money as best they can to help others.

"We can make your money go a lot further than you can, because we have different ways to spend money, different options of where to get it and how to get it," said Frederick.

If you are looking for ways to give to Manna from Seven, click here.

If you would like to check how safe it is to donate somewhere, click here or here.

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