There are many wonderful charities worthy of your time and money, but there are also people who will take advantage. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips to help you figure out which groups are legit.
▪ Get the charity’s exact name. With so many charities in existence, mistaken identity is a common problem.
▪ Resist pressure to give on the spot, whether from a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor. Take time to do your research first.
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▪ Be wary of emotional appeals. What matters is not how tragic the problem is but what the charity is doing to help.
▪ Get specifics. If the charity says it’s helping the homeless, for example, ask how and where it’s working.
▪ Check websites for basic information. A charity’s mission, program and finances should be available on its site. If not, check give.org.
▪ The N.C. Secretary of State’s office licenses most charities or professional fundraising organizations operating in this state and keeps a searchable database of each organization’s financial information. Information also can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 888-830-4989.
▪ Don’t assume that every soliciting organization is tax exempt. You can check an organization’s tax status.
Here are some resources that help you learn more about a charity, including verifying its nonprofit status, getting info from its financial filings and learning about where your money goes when you donate.