The end of the month is great for shopping deals (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday), as well as giving back on Giving Tuesday. In fact, did you know Giving Tuesday, is the most charitable day of the year?
But before you open your wallet and give to a nonprofit, it’s important to avoid scams when donating your hard-earned money. Here are a few tips for avoiding fraud:
- Have a giving plan – Charitable giving is wonderful and it’s a great way to help lots of worthy organizations who are doing great work, but you can’t help everyone. Select the organizations that mean the most to you ahead of time and decide how much you can afford to give.
- Research the organizations – Websites like CharityNavigator.org have information about all of the registered nonprofits in the U.S. It rates them on a five-star scale.
- Learn about their work – Charities often have fanciful names that sound great but make sure to learn more about their specific mission and values. For example, if you would prefer your money went to disease research, avoid organizations that just promote awareness.
- Beware of copycat charities – Scammers use similar names in their titles using words like cancer, children, heart, veterans, etc. If it sounds slightly different than a well-known charity, do your research first.
- Resist pressure tactics – Legitimate charities will not pressure you to donate on the spot, and they typically will be happy to give more information if requested.
- Keep records – When you finally decide to make your donation, save receipts and other documentation about the donation, and the organization.