How to avoid charity scams [4 ways to check out if a non-profit is legit]

Our first inclination when we hear about
catastrophic events and see horrific images of suffering on TV is to open our
hearts and wallets to help. Scammers pay attention to disastrous events too. They
are eager to take advantage of donors. Scammers want to pocket the money donors
are giving to support victims and restore communities. Within hours of any
catastrophe, fake funding sites pop up on the internet and pleas for money flood into social media and funding sites. How can you recognize charity scams? How can
you make sure that your dollars truly help those in need?
Here are some tips you can use to find worthwhile organizations that will put
your donation to good use for the purpose you intend. Tip number 1: check
out the organization’s website and social media accounts. Look for pictures
videos and stories featuring the work the organization is doing in the
community of need. Look for stakeholder engagement. Does the nonprofit have an
active group of volunteers and donors from the community? Do they have a clear
mission statement on their website? Most disaster relief organizations promote
their work and try to engage new donors and volunteers by telling their story as
publicly as they can. Tip number 2: don’t forget to do a web search for the
organization by name. Check for positive feedback from donors and supporters and
a history of service that didn’t start yesterday. Look for negative information
like allegations of fraud or misuse of monies. Remember, a complete lack of
information about an organization is just as suspicious as negative
information about it. No information at all might mean that the nonprofit didn’t
exist until recently it may not be a legal
or worthwhile organization for your donation. Tip number 3: check websites
that publish charity ratings. These sites analyze tax filings and financial
reports and provide a rating based on financial transparency, compliance with
nonprofit best practices and more. They may also rate their impact,
list board members, and show the amount of public participation and backing.
Rating sites are a good tool for gathering information on large
nonprofits but remember that some small organizations may not have the
accounting staff required for full reporting compliance. These smaller
organizations can be sound choices for your donations as well. Three sources of
free information about non-profit charities are the Charity Navigator,
Guidestar, and the Better Business Bureau. Links are in the description
below. Tip number four: be careful when considering charitable contributions in
response to a phone call or email solicitation unless it is a charity you
have a relationship with already. Once you’ve found a few legitimate charities,
how do you decide which to give to? Donate to the charity that most closely
aligns with your personal interests and looks like it will maximize the impact
of your dollar. Often you can choose to earmark your donation for a specific
cause or recipient. Make sure that the organization will provide you with a
receipt that is suitable for tax filing purposes and consider donating your time
and effort by becoming a volunteer. Giving money is wonderful; volunteering
pays you back and personal satisfaction. Check out volunteer success stories on
the Oasis website, link included in the description below. In any case, thank you
for helping those in need. Subscribe to the Oasis Connections channel and turn on
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