Tips on Researching a Charity Before Donating

If you’re pondering a request for a donation to a charity, do your research before you give. By discovering as much as you can about the charity, you can avoid scammers who try to take advantage of your kindness. Here are tips to help guarantee your charitable contributions are used for its intention.

Signs of a Charity Scam

These days, non-profits and charities use the web, email, texts, and face-to-face to solicit and get money. Naturally, scammers use these same techniques to take advantage of your kindness.

It doesn’t matter how they come to you, avoid any charity or non-profit that:

  • Refuses to give detailed information about its costs, mission, identity and how the donation will be used.
  • Won’t offer proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
  • Uses a name that is very similar to that of a reputable, well-known organization.
  • Thank you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
  • Uses high-pressure strategies like trying to get you to donate right away without giving you time to do any research and/or think about it.
  • Asks you to wire money or to donate cash.
  • Wants to send an overnight delivery service or courier to collect the money ASAP.
  • Promise sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation. By law, you don’t have to give a donation to qualify to win a sweepstakes.

Charity Checklist

Take the following steps to make sure your donation helps the organizations and people you want to help.

  • Ask for in-depth information about the charity such as the name, address, and telephone number.
  • Get the exact name of the organization and research. Look up the name of the organization online, particularly with the word scam or complaint. This is one way to learn about its reputation.
  • Call the charity. Find out if the organization knows of the solicitation and has approved the use of its name. The organization’s development staff should be able to assist you.