Charitable giving can be one of the most rewarding ways to help a child receive medical care, to rebuild houses after a major disaster, or even feed the hungry in your community. But you want to make sure your funds actually go where you want them to go. Here are a few tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on how to give to charity using your heart and your head.
Do your homework
Looking for a charity to support? Search for a cause you care about using words like “hurricane relief” or “homeless kids,” and phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.” If you want to give to a specific charity, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating” or “scam.” Turn to organizations like the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator to help you research charities.
Be careful how you pay
If there’s a request for a cash donation, a gift card or payment by wire transfer, don’t do it. To be safer, pay by credit card or check to help you keep a record of all donations. Don’t forget to review your financial statements closely to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to donate and that you’re not signed up to make a recurring donation.
Keep scammers’ tricks in mind
Scammers can change caller ID to make a call look like it’s from a local area code. Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving. Scammers make lots of vague, sentimental claims, but give no specifics about how your donation will be used. So make sure you know who is receiving your donation.
If you see any red flags, or if you’re not sure about how a charity will use your donation, consider giving to a different charity. You can also report scams to the FTC or file a complaint with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
Article provided by Local Government Federal Credit Union.
The advice provided is for informational purposes only.