“There’s nothing better than an informed donor,” said Terry Wig of the Titusville Area United Way.
However, what I found surprised me: “There are a lot of people who raise money for non-charitable purposes (pretending to be otherwise),” said Wig.
Donation scams pop up during the holidays and during times of natural distaster, when people are in the spirit of generous giving.
Here are a few ways to validate your donation, avoid scams, and support the charity:
1) Check online databases.
Pennsylvania tracks state charities on the Bureau of Charitable Organizations database.
GuideStar.org is a national site dedicated to tracking and publishing charity reports.
2) Call your local charities directly.
By calling or visiting your local charity of choice directly, you ensure that you’ve made a personal connection with the organization and a real person is behind it. That’s not to say you can’t safely and securely donate online through programs like PayPal. However, by calling your local charity directly, they can direct you to the best (and most secure way) they’d like you do donate.
3) Donate as locally as possible.
“It’s easier to give closer to home. You know the people, you’re in their offices,” said Wig.
By donating to a local charity or the local office of a national one, you know those who are handling the funds.