NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued charitable giving tips for “Giving Tuesday,” a day that encourages charitable donations and giving in communities worldwide.
“Giving Tuesday is a fantastic opportunity for New Yorkers to continue their traditional generosity by giving back and supporting those in need right in our neighborhoods and across the globe,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “If you plan on giving, follow our tips to ensure that your money is going to a worthy cause, and that the charity will use your money wisely.”
The Attorney General’s tips include:
Take Time To Research The Organization. Make sure you are familiar with the organization, its mission, and its effectiveness before giving. Always ask for information in writing – be wary if an organization will not provide information about charitable programs and finances upon request. Any legitimate organization will be happy to send you information. Consult charitiesnys.com to ensure that it is registered, and to learn more about its mission and finances.
Know Where Your Money Will Go. Find out from the charity what it will do with your money. Review the charity’s financial reports for information about how it spends donations. If you have been contacted by a telemarketer, review Pennies for Charity, the New York Attorney General’s annual report of telemarketing campaigns in New York, to see how much is spent on fundraising costs and how much has been kept by the charity.
Don’t Be Pressured by Telemarketers. If you receive a telephone call asking you to contribute to a charity, you have the right to hang up. Often the caller is a professional fundraiser who is being paid to call you. If you choose not to end the call, ask how much of your donation will go to charity and how much the telemarketer is being paid. Many telemarketing companies receive most of the money they raise. Be wary of claims such as “all proceeds will go to charity.” Telemarketers are required to respond truthfully to your questions. Don’t fall for pressure tactics such as repeated phone calls, or threats. These are signs that the organization may not be legitimate. And always remember you have the right to say no to any charitable request.
Ask To Be Put On A Do Not Call List. You also have the right to request that you be placed on the telemarketer’s “Do Not Call” list. It is not illegal for telemarketers for charities to call telephone numbers on the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry, but consumers can stop such calls by telling telemarketers not to call them on behalf of specific charities – telemarketers are required to honor such requests. You may also ask a charity to take you off its solicitation list.
Be Wary of Deceptive Tactics and Emotional Appeals. Watch out for charities with names that resemble those of prominent or established organizations—especially on days designated to charitable giving. Some charities use names similar to well-known charities in order to confuse donors. Be wary of emotional appeals that talk about problems but are vague on how donations will be spent. Also be careful about charities that are created immediately following a natural disaster or other current event.
Don’t Disclose Personal Information. Never give your social security number or other personal information in response to a charitable solicitation. Never give out credit card information over the phone or to an organization you are not familiar with.
If you Donate Online or by Text, Donate Securely. Always make sure that you are using secure methods of payment. When donating online, make sure the website is secure and includes ‘https’ in the web address.
Never Give Cash. Give your contribution by check made payable to the charity.
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