In today’s day and age of internet visibility, scams are all too commonplace, even more so in regards to charities. By taking advantage of good intentions and altruistic actions, thieving organizations are able to capitalize on the misfortune and disability of others. It is for this reason that it is of the utmost significance to understand who you’re donating to and what they’re doing with your money.
Unfortunately, in the wake of tragic events, these scamming philanthropic organizations or schemes spike in number…preying on the impulsive good nature of countless individuals across the country. Luckily, there are precautions one can take in order to reduce their chances of being deceived. Listed below are some of the most notable things to remain vigilant against:
When you’re contributing to a worthy cause, you should ensure that their mission statement is clear and understandable. Pretenders will often have a very vague call-to-action that sounds abstractly positive but does not necessarily provide any real information about where your money is going or what the organization actually does. Do your research and make sure you understand the effect your donation is going to have.
When gifting funds to a legitimate organization, the nonprofit should be registered with a state government agency since it’s required by the majority of states. To play it safe, do a little bit of internet research to see if they are officially registered. This said, if they’re not registered, it does not necessarily mean they are a scam outright, but it is worth noting and looking into further.
When looking at specific families’ crowdfunding pages, be very weary. Since they are not officially a not-for-profit, they are not required to register with the government. However, you can still discern the validity of these pages by verifying the receipt of funds through a third party, be that a bank, or an accountant, and/or a lawyer. This will give you the confidence you need to know where your money is going.
Any reputable nonprofit organization should be more than willing to properly articulate how much of each dollar goes to the cause. If the not-for-profit in question is reluctant to release information about how they spend allocate their resources, it is a red flag and cause for concern.
So long as you keep the above advice in mind, you should be able to safely sift through both reputable and rogue nonprofits. However, if you do find you have fallen victim to a scam, do not hesitate to reach out to the proper authorities. In the event you have released sensitive personal information, pay particular attention to your bank account(s), credit score(s), and any strange fiscal activity you may notice.
Giving back to the community is a worthwhile cause, and it’s our duty to make sure it stays that way by practicing due diligence.
This post was originally published on Vincent Chhabra’s Philanthropy site.