BATON ROUGE, La (WVLA-WGMB)–
December 3rd marked the start of Giving Tuesday.
People across the world are asked to make monetary donations to charity or volunteer.
The global generosity movement was created in 2012 as a day that encourages people to do good.
BBB Serving Western Virginia offers the following tips to give wisely:
- Thoughtful Giving: Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance. If you want to know more about a certain charitable organization, visit BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
- Government Registration: Virginia requires charities to be registered with the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs before soliciting in Virginia. There are nearly 25,000 charities that are currently registered in VA. See www.vdacs.virginia.gov for a complete list.
- How Donations Will Be Used: Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. Understand how much of the donation will actually go toward the work of the charity as opposed to administrative and fundraising expenses.
- A Family Created Assistance Fund: Some families may decide to set up their own assistance funds. Be mindful that such funds may not be set up as charities. Also, make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or lawyer.
- Crowdfunding: Anyone can set up an account. Make sure you know where the money is going and that a third party (such as a bank or attorney) is overseeing the effort. Remember that, although vetting of crowdfunding sites has increased, scams still can easily exist.
- Online Cautions: Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a fake site where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.
- Financial Transparency: Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so that anyone can find out and not have to wait until the audited financial statements are available sometime in the future.
- Tax Deductibility: Not all organizations collecting funds are tax exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in the U.S. Donors can support these other entities but keep this in mind if they want to take a deduction for income tax purposes. If tax deductions are important to you, search the IRS website to find out if your donation will be deductible.