Got a little extra money in your budget you’d like to donate to a non-profit organization? Great! Have some time on the weekend to volunteer and not sure where to start? Help! Doing a little research on where you’re going to donate time or money is time well spent – after all, there are a lot of phony organizations out there trying to get your money and time.
Are They Still Tax Exempt?
In the U.S., if a charity hasn’t filed a tax exemption with the IRS for 3 years in a row, the exemption is revoked, which could mean trouble for you when tax time comes and you’re counting up your donations. The IRS has a website broken down by state of organizations that haven’t renewed their exemption forms in easy, downloadable formats.
A Matter of Trust
If you’re not sure if the organization is trustworthy, the Better Business Bureau has a comprehensive site that lists trusted charities, as well as a giving guide to help you find an organization for you to give to. And because it’s the BBB, you can also send them complaints about charities that aren’t on the up and up.
Get All The Info
If you’ve been solicited by a charity over the phone or email and are interested in donating, make sure you get all the information you need first. Scammers usually try to use a name that sounds vaguely close to a famous organization, so use the online materials listed above to get the information. Don’t be afraid to ask for printed materials from the organization before you donate to their cause. Real charities typically won’t ask you for donations over the phone or over unsolicited email, so beware if they’ve called or emailed you first. And if you’re not sure, contact your state attorney general for information on the charity. By the way, Postconsumers doesn’t request donations because the charity model doesn’t work well in this cutting-edge field. We are an educational company offering free services at our own expense in the hope that our short web course below impacts mainstream culture.
What resources do you use to research charities? Like us on Facebook and tell us about them!