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Tips for making donations to charities

The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips:

  • 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.
  • 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 csl@sosnc.com or calling 888-830-4989.
  • Don't assume that every soliciting organization is tax exempt. You can check an organization's tax status.
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