Tips for Donating Wisely this Holiday Season
DENVER, Dec. 18, 2018 — The holiday season is in full swing and Secretary of State Wayne Williams asks Coloradans to give generously to their favorite charities but to keep in mind of how to give wisely.
This time of year is when local nonprofits step up their fundraising efforts and Coloradans begin to focus on their charitable appeals. Whatever your motivations or favorite causes, my office wants to help you make an informed giving decision so that your donations will be used as you intended and have the maximum impact. – Colorado Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams.
The following tips, together with data filed on the Secretary of State’ website by nearly 16,000 charities, will help you give with confidence and avoid charity scams this time of year.
- Ask for the name and registration number of the charity.
- Ask what percentage of your donation will go to the charity, whether the donation is tax deductible, and what charitable programs it will support.
- Make a note of the first and last name of the person contacting you and the name of the company employing that person. If it is a paid solicitor, ask for their registration number, and if you are asked in person, ask for their identification.
- Be wary if the charity fails to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, and finances and how the donation will be used. Reputable charities will gladly provide the information requested.
- Be especially wary of any organization that offers to send a courier to pick up your check, or if they thank you for making a pledge you don’t remember making.
- Verify with local charities any claims by the solicitor that your donation will support local organizations.
- There is no need to give on the spot, whether to a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor.
- If you feel pressured or uncomfortable, just say, “No, thank you” or hang up.
- Do not pay in cash. Donate by check made payable to the charity or use the charity’s website to donate by credit card.
- Verify the official name and website of the charity you wish to support. Beware of names that sound too similar to well-known organizations and beware of lookalike websites, especially if you are asked to provide personal financial information.
- Review disclosure forms filed by the charity or paid solicitor on the Secretary of State’s website. A charity’s filings include information about the organization’s leadership, mission, financial efficiency, and use of commercial fundraisers.
- Paid solicitor filings show the duration and purposes of their solicitation campaigns, their anticipated compensation, and the actual results of concluded solicitation campaigns.
If you believe that you have been solicited by a fraudulent charity, you can file a complaint with the Secretary of State or the Attorney General.
Attorney General 1-800-222-4444 www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov
Secretary of State 303-894-2200, option 4 www.sos.state.co.us