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BBB Offers Tips About Charities Soliciting Donations
Updated November 19, 2014 6:51 AM
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(UNDATED) - The end of the year has become a popular time for charities to solicit donations because of the tax advantages to individual donors. BBB urges donors to check charities out before they give.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers these Basic Giving Tips:

1. Get the charity's exact name. With so many charities in existence, mistaken identity is a common problem. Thousands of charities have "cancer" in their name, for example, but no connection with one another.

2. Resist pressure to give on the spot, whether from a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor.

3. Be wary of heart-wrenching appeals. What matters is what the charity is doing to help.

4. Press for specifics. If the charity says it's helping the homeless, for example, ask how and where it's working.

5. Check websites for basics. A charity's mission, program and finances should be available on its site. If not, check for a report at www.give.org.

6. Check with state charity officials. In many states, charities are required to register, usually with the office of the attorney general, before soliciting. Click http://www.nasconet.org/documents/u-s-charity-offices/ for the relevant office in our state.

7. Don't assume that every soliciting organization is tax exempt as a charity. You can readily check an organization's tax status at www.irs.gov/app/eos.

A charity that can use your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow. Watch out for appeals that bring tears to your eyes, but tell you nothing about how your donation will be used.

Write a check to the charity, not an individual.

Never give your credit card number or other personal information in response to unsolicited donation requests.

Before making online donations, determine whether the charity's website is secure and that it has a privacy policy concerning the use of your name, email address or other personal facts. Secure sites' addresses begin with https://.

If you have a question about a charity or want to find an Accredited Charity you can trust, visit BBB's website at: bbb.org/indy/



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