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Different ways to verify a charity’s legitimacy

August 7, 2018

Different ways to verify a charity’s legitimacy

Donating money for charitable causes is one of the noblest things one can do for the society. However, while one is contemplating about making a contribution for the greater good, one must exercise some level of caution. Why? Because it is important to ensure that whatever money has been donated goes to the right place and is used for the proposed plan. Therefore, before making any donations to a charity, it is imperative for a donor to run a check on the establishment in question.

Signs of a charity con
Today apart from personal contact, charities use all types of communication mediums including phone calls, emails, text, and even social media networks to promote causes. Irrespective of how charities contact potential donors, there are certain red flags stated below that shouldn’t be missed.

  • Refusal to produce detailed data about its mission, identity, and expense breakdown.
  • No evidence of tax deduction for the contributions made.
  • Using a name that resembles eminent charity organizations.
  • Use of high-pressure donation campaigns that coerces the donor to make immediate transactions without giving one enough time to think or research.
  • Offering sweepstake rewards in return for a donation.
  • Asking for confidential information such as a bank account number or debit/credit card details.

Things to check before making a donation to a charitable organization
To make sure that your contributions benefit the right individuals and causes, here are some precautionary measures you should take.

  • Insist that the organization gives you some details such as an address, telephone number, websites, social media handles, and reliable references.
  • Research about the organization online, and pay special attention to search results or threads mentioning words like complaints, scams, or frauds.
  • Call up the charity and personally inquire about its causes and the mediums they use to solicit donors.
  • Check the charity’s credibility by examining if they are registered under the National Association of State Charity Officials.
  • Ensure that the donations made to the charitable organizations or fundraisers are tax-deductible.

Fortunately, today one can find various charity vetting tools online that can help donors investigate a charity’s legitimacy. Apart from the basic details, these online platforms inform donors about how a particular non-profit organization spends the accumulated money. Here are some websites that can aid donors in making the right decision –

  • GuideStar
  • The Wise Giving Alliance
  • Charity Navigator
  • Charity Watch

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