Don't forget the general fund

I know that a lot of people are excited about giving money for the specific Tsunami relief funds around our most recent big natural disaster, but it's important to remember that the General Fund of your favorite charity might suffer due to specified giving. As an example, the Red Cross runs overhead and other operations (you know, like flood relief, etc.) and all of their quick- response units out of the General Fund. If people concentrate on dedicating this year's giving to specific funds, like the funds designated for tsunami relief, then there won't be as much left for the next disaster. Please give generously, but wisely.

American Express cardmembers can use their cards to get miles (through December 31, 2004) or give miles by going to the American Express online donation site.

The site, run by (Guidestar, A/K/A PRI-Philanthropic Research, Inc.), a 501(c)(3), provides financial information as well as searching capabilities to help you find a charity you like.