The key to wise giving is to become informed about a charitable organization before you write your check or donate your time. Key questions to ask and factors to consider about a charity before making a donation include:
Checklist for Donors
When solicited for charity, DO:
- Learn about the organization, its activities and fundraising practices.
- Review the charity’s financial disclosure reports.
- Ask if the solicitor is being paid to solicit.
- Ask what percentage of donations being raised is paying for fundraising expenses.
- Ask for written information about the charity.
- Call the charity directly.
- Confirm a law enforcement agency appeal.
- Watch out for copycat or similar- sounding names.
- Avoid tax confusion: Know the difference between “tax-exempt” and “tax-deductible.”
- Beware of meaningless terms to suggest that a charity is tax-exempt.
- Consider the cost when buying merchandise or tickets for a “fundraising” event, or when receiving free goods in exchange for a donation to charity.
When solicited for charity, DON’T
- make cash donations or give your credit card number to anyone.
- make a donation if you feel uncomfortable about the pitch or feel you are being threatened. Just hang up the phone, shut the door, or walk away.
For additional information regarding these tips and donor guidance in general, please review our Guide to Charitable Giving for Donors.