Daily Dupaco

Friday, December 12, 2014

Give safely: 'Tis the season for charitable giving

Plenty of charitable causes can use a financial boost during this time of year.

And it can be rewarding to do your part to help.

But during this season of giving, it’s also important to take some precautions to help ensure that your donations make it into the right hands.

“Criminals know that many people make year-end charitable contributions for tax purposes, and they will try to push you into making a quick decision to donate,” Sandy Chalmers, with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), said in a recent press release.

Before you open your wallet, research the organization you would like to help. Hillary Baker, director of communications at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, recommends using one of these reputable websites to learn more about charitable causes you’re interested in:

  • Charity Navigator measures the credibility of organizations. 
  • The Community Foundation’s Giving Center is a comprehensive resource for information on northeast Iowa nonprofits. Donors can search by interest area, community or nonprofit name, then view nonprofit profiles, read success stories and watch videos to learn about what each organization does. 
  • Guidestar details both the mission and financial stewardship of nonprofits across the country.

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and DATCP also offer these safety tips:

  • Donate to charities that you trust and are well-established.
  • Be wary of unsolicited requests for donations, especially ones received online.
  • Never write out a check or give cash to an individual solicitor. Write out checks to the name of the organization or use a credit card.

By Emily Kittle

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