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Before Giving to a Charity

August 26, 2022

You want your donations to count, so it’s important to do some research before giving to a charity. Here are some things you can do to learn more about a charity and avoid donating to a scam.

Five Things to Do Before You Donate to a Charity

  1. Search online for the cause you care about — like “hurricane relief” or “homeless kids” — plus phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.” Once you find a specific charity you’re considering giving to, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” “fraud,” or “scam.” If you find bad reviews, it might be best to find another organization.
  2. Check out the charity’s website — Does it give you details 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.
  3. Use one of these organizations that help you research charities:
    1. BBB Wise Giving Alliance
    2. Charity Navigator
    3. CharityWatch
    4. Candid
  4. Find out if the fundraiser and the charity are registered — Some states require that charities register with the state regulator. Check to see if a fundraiser and the charity they’re calling on behalf of are registered with your state’s charity regulator.
  5. Check if the donation will be tax deductible — If this is important to you, confirm that the organization you’re donating to is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt organization. Look up the organization in the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search.

Donating on Social Media and Crowdfunding Sites

The safest way to give on social media or through crowdfunding is to donate to people you know.

  • Don’t assume the request is legitimate because a friend posted it — Pay attention to who posts the request on social media. Contact your friend privately or offline to ask them about the post they shared.
  • Check where the link to donate goes — Does it go to a crowdfunding campaign? If that’s the case, any money you give will go directly to the crowdfunding organizer. Are you sure that person will pass the money on to the cause you want to support? Confirm with whoever posted the link that they know the person behind the fundraising.

Read Donating through Crowdfunding, Social Media, and Fundraising Platforms for more tips on what to look for when you’re asked to donate on social media or to a crowdfunding campaign.


Posted in Security Updates

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