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The war in Ukraine has brought out the best in most people, but the worst in others. Many of us want to help the victims, especially the children and refugees. There are numerous charities soliciting donations, but how do you know which ones are legitimate? We all recognize organizations such as the Red Cross, United Way, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization, but sometimes thieves will use familiar organizations to deceive unsuspecting individuals, so it’s always a best practice to verify the source.
What if a charity you are not familiar with solicits a donation? How do you vet a charitable organization?
Here are some questions to determine the legitimacy of a charitable organization:
There are also several online resources to assist you in determining if a charity is legitimate. Charity Navigator is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity assessment organization that evaluates and rates hundreds of thousands of US based organizations. Great Nonprofits is also a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It’s a US based website where donors, volunteers and clients can review and share their personal experiences with charitable organizations. GuideStar is an information reporting service specializing in reporting on US nonprofit organizations. Their database contains 1.8 million IRS recognized organizations. Charity Watch, formerly known as the American Institute of Philanthropy, is a 501(c) 3 organization that provides information about charities’ financial efficiency, accountability, governance, and fundraising.
As with all monetary transactions, its buyer beware. If you do your research and stick with well-known organizations, you will increase the likelihood that your donation will be going to a legitimate organization supporting your chosen cause.
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