Information on Charitable Donations

Check Before Giving. Donate to charities you are familiar with, or that have experience assisting in disaster relief. Review information about the charity before you give. Check the Attorney General's website for financial reports of charities, or ask the charity directly for its reports. Confirm that the charity is a tax-exempt organization. The following websites contain helpful information to evaluate charities:

American Institute of Philanthropy -

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance -

Charity Navigator -

GuideStar -

Ask How Your Donation Will Be Used. Check how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and individuals your donation will support. Confirm that all of your contribution will be used for the purpose you intend, and whether you are able to restrict your gift to that purpose. Find out what the charity plans to do with any excess donations. Avoid charities that make emotional appeals but are vague in answering your questions. Be wary if an organization will not provide written information about its charitable programs and finances upon request. Any legitimate organization will be glad to send you this information.

Before You Text A Contribution. Check the charity's website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message. Keep in mind that donations via text messaging may not reach the charity until after your phone bill is paid. It may be faster to contribute directly to the charity.

Don't Give Cash. Give directly to the charity, either by check made payable to the organization or through the charity's website.

Be Careful About Personal Information. Avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message. In all cases, make sure you are familiar with the organization to which you give such information and check to see that the fundraising campaign is legitimate.

Avoid Unsolicited Spam Emails. These formats are usually not associated with legitimate charities. Check the Department of Homeland Security tips, such as Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks that are posted at

Report Suspicious Organizations. If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work, or that a scam is taking place, please contact the Attorney General's Charities Bureau at

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