COLUMBIA, S.C. — Charity organizations in South Carolina were honored by the Secretary of State as Angels. 

Before you write a check this holiday season to a charity, it is important to know where exactly your money is going.

"Just a joyful feeling to give back to other people," Big Red Barn Retreat Executive Director Sutton Shaw said.

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season giving back is typically on the list, but knowing where to donate can be tricky.

"We work really hard to make sure every dollar that's every given to us is really used wisely," Boys Farms Executive Director Michael Davis said.

Davis said their organization works to help give kids a second chance and was also an recognized as a 2019 Angel.

"It's an honor," Davis said.

In order to be be an Angel, organizations must have devoted 80 percent or more of their total expenditures to charitable programs, have operated for three or more years and make good use of volunteer services among other qualifications. 

The South Carolina Secretary of State announced these angles, but also wants to remind folks to not only give from the heart but to give smart.

“Although many good charities use professional fundraisers, we have seen over the years that most ‘Scrooge’ organizations have high fundraiser costs,” said Secretary Hammond. “For example, Cancer Survivors’ Fund was named a Scrooge in 2011. For the most recent fiscal year, this organization spent only 8 percent on its program expenses. The joint financial reports filed with our office in 2018 show that their professional solicitors kept 88 cents of every dollar raised. That is why it is so important that donors educate themselves and ask questions before giving away their hard-earned money. It is our hope that the Wise Giving and Professional Solicitor Report will give charitable donors the tools they need not only to give from the heart, but to also give smart.”

There are three tips you might want to try before you donate, check, ask and notify. On the charities search feature on the Secretary of State's website, you can check to look if the charity is registered to solicit donations. You can also review the charity before you make a decision.

The Secretary of State's Office recommends to ask how the charity how much of the donation will be used for program services. They also recommend if you have concerns to contact their office or you can call the Division of Public Charities at 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484) for more information.

Shaw with Big Red Barn Retreat, which helps veterans, said being recognized as an Angel proves their hard work is helping others. 

"Veterans and active duty have been open and embraced it, so it's been an honor, this just confirms for us that we're on the right track," Shaw said. 

The Angels recognized, with the percentage of their expenditures that went toward their program services, are listed below. Those recognized are listed in alphabetical order, and are NOT ranked by the Secretary of State.

  • Big Red Barn Retreat, Blythewood, SC -- 94.2%
  • Boys Farm, Inc., Newberry, SC -- 81.1%
  • Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity, Columbia, SC -- 93.3%
  • Free Medical Clinic of Aiken County, Aiken, SC -- 89.9%
  • Hopeful Horizons, Inc., Beaufort, SC -- 86.8%
  • Lighthouse Ministries, Florence, SC, Florence, SC -- 84.2%
  • Meet the Needs Charleston, Mount Pleasant, SC -- 98.0%
  • Neighbor to Neighbor of South Carolina Inc., Myrtle Beach, SC -- 86.8%
  • Oconee County Humane Society, Inc., Salem, SC -- 96.3%
  • Sustaining Way, Greenville, SC -- 98.5%

If you want to search a charity, click here