Thanks to COVID-19, many charitable organizations are faced with greater demand for their services, but less in donations as people have less to give. Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure that your donation will be used wisely and well. Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and as you consider new places to send your donations, now and throughout the holiday season, don’t forget these four tips for giving wisely:
Search online for the cause you care about — like “help COVID victims” or “homeless kids” — plus phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.” Once you find a specific charity you’re considering giving to, search for its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.” If you find red flags, it might be best to find another organization.
Check out the charity’s website. Does it give information about the programs you want to support, or how it uses donations? How much of your donation will go directly to support the programs you care about? If you can’t find detailed information about a charity’s mission and programs, be suspicious.
Use one of these organizations to help you research charities: BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar. The IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search tells you if your donation would be tax deductible.
See what your state’s charity regulator has to say about the charity. Don’t know who that is? Look it up at nasconet.org.
Donating on social media or through a crowdfunding campaign? Don’t assume solicitations on social media or crowdfunding campaigns are legitimate — even posts that are shared or liked by your friends. Do your own research. Contact your friends offline to ask them about the post they shared. And remember that crowdfunding campaigns are not tax deductible.
Find more tips at FTC.gov/Charity and in these videos. If you spot a bogus charity, report them to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.