‘Tis the Season for Believing Anything

{UPDATED: November, 2018} It’s the holiday season and, in the spirit of giving, many folks are looking to do some good with their extra cash while also scoring a cool last minute tax deduction. Certainly that last bit isn’t the reason for a donation to a worthy cause, but it’s a nice added perk.

Anyhoo, with so many choices out there and so much info flying at you this time of year, it’s easy to just simplify wherever possible. After all, there are bigger things to worry about. With so many meals to prepare, gifts to buy, decorations to hang, and those mischievous elves hopping from shelf to shelf wreaking havoc in your home, who has time to research charitable causes? So, rather than do the most basic independent research to help make informed decisions, why not simply accept misinformation as gospel and perpetuate the inaccuracies until the end of time?

Writing it that way makes it sound insane! And yet here we are, another year coming to a close and we’re once again seeing the same recycled nonsense about nonprofits that wasn’t even correct when it first started circulating years ago. As a former employee of one of the nonprofits always rounded up in this lunacy, I have had the pleasure of answering the same questions about this stuff hundreds of times every single year. For funsies, sometimes I ponder the kind of work I could be getting done if I wasn’t constantly having to address the same rumors over and over again (things like reciting all the numbers of Pi, and paddleboarding around the world backwards come to mind).

So here’s what I’m gonna do for the American public this holiday season. I’m going to do [most of] the research for you! The graphic below is one of those most commonly thrown at nonprofits on a very regular basis, often with aggressive comments like “explain yourself”, “you suck” or “[insert grammatically deficient rant here]”. Below the graphic I’ll go box by box with links to the correct info; links which you yourself could find with just the slightest bit of Googling. Additionally, I will possibly throw in some snark. After all, I want to help you out but I also want to do something that’s fun for me.

If you’ve seen these graphics and phony information previously and passed them along as an honest mistake, and you are open to knowing the correct info, your past transgressions are easily forgiven. But, if you’re one of those trendy folks who looks factual information square in the eye and spits in its face, I realize the time it takes to conduct all this research is wasted on you. But never fear! I found a better resource JUST FOR YOU 🙂

For the remainder, the info that follows has also been similarly researched and published by Snopes, but nobody seems interested in scrolling down on their page.

I don’t know about you, but I’m expecting nothing but a good time here! Off we go!!


So that covers that. Here’s another variation of this common misinformation that you may see circulating among a number of others. There are a couple of bonus charities listed in this one, but hopefully you get the idea.


This is NOT an attempt to guide you towards one charity over another or influence your decision in any way. ALL of the above-mentioned charities along with countless others provide much needed programs and resources for our communities and are deserving and in need of your support throughout the year!

I simply encourage everyone to do the simple research necessary to be properly informed. There are plenty of resources available to help, from Charity Navigator, Give.org, and any number of charity watchdog groups. And don’t overlook one of the most detailed pieces of financial info available for nonprofits – their IRS 990 form – which is often available on their website in the interests of transparency.

Ultimately give with your heart. If the mission of an organization speaks to you, and you trust that they will do the good you expect, by all means give your money, your time, your whatever. They all need the help!

But for God’s sake STOP proliferating misinformation. Not only is it potentially harmful to the charities and volunteers out there trying so hard to do the most good; if you’re one of those out there blindly hitching your wagon to false and quite easily debunked nonsense such as these graphics, you’re harming your own intelligence.

Happy giving, and happy holidays!