smartconsumer: Researching a Charity Before You Give - Know

Researching a Charity Before You Give

{What to Know} {What to Do}


Why is it important to research a charity before giving them money?

Giving money to a charity is a great thing to do. You want to be sure your money goes to the right place. Requests for a donation may come through the phone, email, internet or through face-to-face contact. Researching a charity before giving money is important because:

  • Scammers who want to take your money will use the same methods to contact you as real charities. Scammers will pretend to be calling for a charity to take advantage of your goodwill.

  • Not all charities use your money the way you would want. If you give money over the phone, most of your money will go to the firm that called you and not the charity.

How can I spot a charity scam?

A scammer will:

  • Refuse to give you details about its identity, mission, costs or how your money will be used

  • Not give you proof that your donation is tax deductible

  • Use a name that is similar to a well-known charity

  • Thank you for a pledge that you do not remember making

  • Pressure you to donate right away

  • Ask for donations in cash or through a wire transfer

  • Offer to send a delivery service to pick-up the donation right away

  • Promise you a sweepstakes winning in exchange for the donation. You never have to give money to be eligible for a sweepstakes.

How can I research a charity?

Make sure your money is spent the way you would want:

Is it safe to give money over the phone?

No. You should not give money over the phone. Scammers could be trying to get information about you or your credit card. Even if the call is for a real charity, telephone fundraisers keep most of your money. The charity will get less than half of what you gave. The charity may get nothing. It is always better to hang up and send money directly to the charity.

Content Last Modified on 2/25/2013 11:02:34 AM