The online version of The Wall Street Journal features a very helpful article about being wise about charitable contributions to churches.
The main points are:
- Be a Doubting Thomas: look into the organizations to which you plan to contribute, and ask questions about how they manage and spend the money they receive.
- Provide for Family: make sure you are not putting yourself in jeopardy by giving so generously that you lose the ability to provide for yourself and your family.
- Do Good: look into ways to make charitable gifts that don't cost you anything. The options here range from volunteering your time to including charitable beneficiaries in your estate plan.
Check here for more information about charitable planning.