The official passing of Black Friday and Cyber Monday brings the dawn of Giving Tuesday. Here are a few tips for giving safe & smart this holiday season.
Verify the charity
An organization for whom you regularly donate may request a special donation this season. These requests can come in all forms and fashions. For those you are familiar with, donate in the same fashion you normally do. Mail to their physical address, online directly through their website or sign up for your company’s giving campaign as a payroll deduction. For those organizations that are new to you, verify the charity first. Verification can be done through guidestar.org, Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau or your state attorney general or corporation commission.
Secure Online Donations
When giving online this season, be sure you are using a trusted website that is properly encrypted when entering your personal information. (the lock icon on the URL toolbar, like on YHB’s website, is the symbol for HTTPS encryption) As an added layer, consider using a credit card for donations for added protection that most credit card companies provide.
Digital Greeting Cards
During the holiday season, we all receive the warm-hearted holiday e-mail message from vendors, sponsors and charities alike. Whether you are familiar with the organization or not, don’t click the link. Go directly to the organization’s website for more information or to donate. While many of these are legitimate, it only takes one that is not to turn you into a Holiday Grinch.
Watch for name similarities
Some scammers will copy legitimate charity logos and alter the name or mission slightly to send requests for money. Verify the charity as well as their address (or web address) to ensure you’re giving to the legitimate charity and not a look-a-like.
Don’t feel pressured to give over the phone if a charity calls today
Non-profit organizations may call today requesting end of year giving. The legitimate organizations will not pressure you to make your donation today – and today only. They will answer your questions, provide you information about where to learn more and allow you time to do your research.
Many charitable organizations solicit contributions during the holidays because giving is a part of the spirit of the season. But keep in mind, most organizations need your support throughout the year. So whether you give a lump sum in December or are a monthly donor, be cautious of scammers trying to take advantage of your generosity.