Conn. (WTNH) — It’s Giving Tuesday — a day that encourages people to donate to charity. While there are many legitimate charities, there’s also scammers hoping to score some of your money.
It’s the time of year when Americans’ mailboces, emails, and phones are filled with appeals from various groups asking for donations. There are roughly 1.5 million charitable organizations in the U.S. So how can you make sure that a charity is legitimate?
Experts said you should check to see if the charity is a 501-C-3 organization and if they have an employer ID number. One example is Charity Watch.
“You can go to the IRS website website or you can come to a resource like Charity Navigator, and you can enter that organization’s name or you can enter its tax ID, which will give you its very specific profile, and that will confirm if the organization is a valid charity,” Kevin Scally of Charity Navigator said.
If an organizations asks you to make a donation in cash or by gift card, that might be a sign that it’s not a legitimate charity. It’s safer to donate by credit card or check.
If you get a phone call from someone asking for a donation, don’t let the caller rush you into anything.
“Don’t feel pressured into giving that gift,” Scally said. “Don’t give your credit card information over the phone. You can certainly ask for them to send something in the mail.”
It’s also a good idea to check how a charity will use your donation. Check the website to see what percentage of money donated goes toward their charitable work. Scally said that they typically look for 70% or more to be allocated towards these programs.
“The main thing that you want to look for is what the organization’s mission is, what their model is, if they have a proven track record in delivering on that mission,” Scally said.
For donors, doing a little research can make sure that your donation will get to those who really need it.
“That’s why it’s so important that you give with your heart, but also you give with your head and you do a little bit of due diligence before you give,” Scally said.
See which local organizations are giving back this Tuesday here.