Make Sure You Vet Your Charities For End of Year Donations

( – Charities see a large increase in donations during the holiday season but donors should beware of some unscrupulous tactics that may be used on them. It’s been researched and determined that as many as 68% of adults say they plan to donate to charities each year according to an Edward Jones survey. They also found 17% of those adults plan to increase their donations over what they did last year despite the economic uncertainty.

In 2022, all donations received by non-profit charities totaled $326.87 billion which comprised 67% of all charitable donations. In order to make sure one makes the best decision and donation possible experts are offering some advice.

First, they say, avoid pressure tactics. If a charity is marketing a gift matching campaign with a deadline, you should think twice before feeling you need to be involved. The executive director of CharityWatch, Laurie Styron, advises that you take your time and evaluate how a charity will use your donation. She says its better that most people step back and think about where and how they want their money spent as opposed to being pressured by a deadline.

Another piece of advice is to do proper vetting regarding charitable causes. There are a number of ways of doing this, in the cyber age there are websites that can help. Among them are CharityNavigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar, which offer people ratings based on company reviews. The Better Business Bureau offers a similar service called Wise Giving Alliance. An IRS tool is available for research as well, showing people such things as each charity’s annual reports.

It’s always best to give directly to the non-profit you choose. If you are solicited by a third party claiming to be raising money on behalf of the charity, but you can’t be sure they will give 100% of your donation to the charity, don’t do it. Experts warn that even legitimate third party actors may still be collecting a fee for their solicitations.

Givers should also be aware of a dirty tactic some scammers use where they set up an operation using a name very similar to that of a known charity but is actually slightly different. The most common ways this is done include the scammer adding the word “foundation” at the end of a familiar-sounding name, or they may put the word “American” before familiar-sounding names. Be sure to research and verify to whom you are giving.

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