The giving season has begun and many of us are thinking about gifts for family and friends, as well as giving to our favorite charitable causes. If you’re thinking about donating to charity, do some research first to make sure your money will really help the causes you care about. Here’s what you can do:
- Do some research online. Search for the cause you care about – like “hurricane relief” or “homeless kids” – and phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.”
- When you find an organization that interests you, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.”
- Then, look at the reports and ratings about that charity at BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar. These sources can help you confirm that you want to donate to that organization.
- Check with your state charity regulator to make sure the organization is registered with them – something that most states require. Find their contact information at nasconet.org.
Why is this research important? Because you want your charitable gifts to help as much as possible. Donating to a sham charity only benefits the scammers who get your money. At the FTC we see – and sue – sham charities that take millions of dollars from donors and don’t use it for charity like they say they would. To make sure your donation counts, pick your cause with your heart, and pick the organization you support with your head. Check out FTC.gov/Charity to learn more.
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