How to Donate Safely This Season

At this time of year, the giving spirit of the holiday season often motivates us to increase our donations to charitable organizations. Unfortunately, your good intentions can quickly be taken advantage of unless you do your homework and take some precautions before you donate. Follow these tips from the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) to help protect yourself and your generous gift:
 
Pay careful attention to the name of the charity. When charities seek support for the same cause, they often have a very similar name, so before you make a donation, make sure you know the exact name of the charity you wish to donate to. Do a quick search online to verify. Otherwise, you could be unwittingly supporting the wrong organization.
 
Stay away from on-the-spot donations to unfamiliar groups. With the holidays comes an increased occurrence of organizations asking for donations, often setting up outside busy public locations. It’s easy to feel pressured and give in to the pressure of donating on the spot, but don’t. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today, says the BBB.
 
Don’t let them play on your emotions. Marketers have been known to exploit the holidays to make emotional pleas to donors. Always research to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.
 
Find out if your charity has disclosed information. Although participation is voluntary, you can gain peace of mind by knowing that your charity has disclosed requested information to the BBB WGA. Visit Give.org to find out.
 
By taking these simple steps, you can make sure your hard-earned donations are going to help the cause that’s important to you, and not ending up in the wrong hands.

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