Vetting Charities for Year-End Giving

( – The Giving Season is still in full swing, even though Christmas has passed. November and December are the busiest times of year for charitable donations. Organizations ramp up their fundraising campaigns. Individuals and businesses who itemize their deductions can take advantage of a tax break if they donate by December 31. Before you open your wallet, remember to vet the charity first.

Donors can begin their vetting process by checking out the organization’s history online. Go to their website and look for articles about them to see if you can find any information about what they have accomplished. While on the organization’s website, look for their financial information. That information should be easily accessible. Red flags are raised when a charity isn’t transparent about its financials. Websites like GuideStar and CharityNavigator rate organizations based on their trustworthiness, as well.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) makes it easy to vet a charity by using its Wise Giving Alliance portal. A donor just has to enter the charity’s name, and the federal agency will provide a report. The BBB allows charities that meet its 20 charity standards to become accredited. Looking for that accreditation on their website or through the BBB portal is a great way to determine whether an organization is legitimate.

Sometimes, an individual might reach out and say they are raising money on behalf of a charity. When that happens, it’s always best to donate directly to the organization. That way the donor can ensure their money is going where they want it to go and not into the middleman’s pockets.

Finally, don’t fall for high-pressure tactics from an organization. End-of-the-year fundraising campaigns are perfectly normal. However, it’s not normal to harass someone or call them multiple times to try to get them to donate to a cause. If a donor notices that happening, it’s best if they find another charity to help.

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