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How to Verify a Charity Before Donating

November 22, 2023

Donating to charities can have a positive impact on countless lives, and it pays to give where your dollars will make the most difference.

That’s why it’s important to make sure your money goes to organizations that channel a vast majority of their money to their stated purpose, rather than toward excessive marketing and administrative costs.

Before donating, you should consider whether to give to a local charity, such as a food bank, or to one that has a more national or global reach.

You’ll also want to ensure that a charity is legitimate, and you can do that by doing some research on the internet. You can learn more about a charity by going to its official website to read about its mission and how it spends its money. You can also visit charity rating and information websites such as Charity Navigator , CharityWatch , or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

To help ensure that personal information stays private and that you aren’t being scammed, it is safer to donate directly through a charity’s official, secure website whenever possible. It is also recommended that you make sizeable donations via either credit card or check, rather than cash. If someone is trying to solicit donations via telephone and asks for your account numbers or if they seek donations via gift card numbers or wire transfers, you should hang up because you could be a fraud target.

While your contributions to others are often urgently needed, you’ll want to make sure the money is going to legitimate groups that use those donations wisely, so they have the most impact.