If you are thinking about giving back this holiday season, you are not alone. Almost one third of all charitable donations occur during the month of December. Last year, Americans donated over $390 billion dollars to charity. On this Giving Tuesday, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) urges donors to do their research before giving to ensure their money goes to a trustworthy organization.
“A lot of consumers will be giving to worthy causes this holiday season,” says Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “It’s important for them to do their homework and be sure the organization is legitimate and not one of the many fake charities that scammers create.”
BBB offers the following tips for wise giving:
Check first with BBB. Resources like the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) helps donors make informed giving decisions and promotes high standards of conduct among organizations. The WGA produces annual reports about national charities, evaluating them against comprehensiveStandards for Charity Accountability, and publishes a magazine, the Wise Giving Guide, three times a year.
Watch out for sound-alike names. With so many charities in existence, mistaken identity is a frequent issue. Scammers will often use words like “cancer” or “wish” to capitalize off of legitimate charities.
Ask probing questions. Do not be afraid to ask for specifics. If the charity is legitimate organization they should have no problem answering any questions you may have.
Keep records of donations. Designate a folder to hold receipts, photos, and other documentation of donations throughout the year. If possible give with a credit card, they offer more protection in case of fraud.
Don’t assume every donation is tax deductible. Be sure to check an organization’s tax status with the IRS website’s list of exempt organizationsbefore donating.