Protecting Your Funds through Year End Giving Season

Protecting Your Funds through Year End Giving Season

( – It’s that time of year again! Taxpayers who itemize their deductions can take advantage of tax credits if they donate by December 31. Before you give anyone your hard-earned cash, make sure the charity is legitimate.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has made it really easy to check out whether a charity is on the up and up by going to its Wise Giving Alliance online portal. The portal allows you to search for specific organizations and make sure they are accredited with the BBB. Only charities that meet strict criteria are given accreditation.

Donors can also use the search tool on the IRS’ website to confirm that a charity they want to donate to is tax-exempt and eligible to receive a tax-deductible exemption. GuideStar, CharityWatch, and CharityNavigator all rate organizations based on how much they actually contribute to causes, how transparent they are, and measure them in other ways to make sure they are legitimate.

Another way to see if a charity is a good match is by looking at its financial records. The records should be easy to find and if they aren’t, question why that is. If you do find them, check to see how much of the money they take in is being spent on actual projects. You can also do an internet search of the charity and see if they are doing anything in their community or elsewhere that’s being talked about.

If you can find people directly involved with the organization and speak to them, that’s a good way to see what’s happening, especially if you find former employees. That might not always be possible, but if it’s a local charity, it might be easy to do.

Always try to give directly to the charitable organization, instead of people who claim they are fundraising on behalf of it. And remember, if something sounds suspicious, always trust your gut.

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