Do’s & don’ts when donating to charity

When you make a charitable donation you like to think it is going to a great cause whether it be helping hungry children, the blind, deaf, or anyone with a serious, life-threatening illness. However, sometimes things do not go as planned and the donation that you made in good faith could end up in the wrong hands or not used as intended. Following the tips below will assist you in making a charitable donation that is effective and helpful and they will also help you avoid common traps that people fall into when giving to charities.

DO: ask for more information

Many people donate to a charity if asked and rarely give it a second thought but for all you know, the charity soliciting you may not even be legitimate. Before making a donation to the charity, ask for clarity around their mission, where exactly your donation will go, and their charitable registration number. A charity with a good reputation will be able to answer these questions with ease. If they have issues answering these basic questions or do not answer them at all, re-consider giving to their cause. If they are going door-to-door requesting donations, ask for identification to confirm they are with the charity they claim to be from.

DO: your research

People asking for donations door-to-door, outside of businesses, or at points-of-sales in stores tend to put people on the spot when asking for donations and this may be the reason they are successful in getting plenty of donations. However, if you are suspicious and think that your donation will not reach the identified charity or it will be misused, do not be ashamed of declining until you do some research on the charity. The best way to do this is going online and visit the Government of Canada website where all reputable charities in the country are listed. If you want to go one step further, call the local chapter of the charity and confirm that they do have people soliciting donations in the spots where you were approached to give. Then, if you want to donate, you can go back to that place and donate knowing that it is a legitimate cause.

DON’T: give to cold-callers

How many times have you been called at home and someone asks you to give to a charity? A large majority of times, these charities that call you asking for donations are scams or are telemarketers contracted by real charities but make a contract with the organization where a large portion of donations earned go to the telemarketing company. It is estimated that 95 cents of every dollar donated go to the telemarketing company instead of the charity meaning donating through these cold calls will not allow you to give to the charity as intended. If you get a cold-call asking for a donation, politely decline or do not be afraid to just hang up the telephone.

DON’T: let your emotions get the best of you

Tsunamis, earthquakes, and war that leave people displaced, hungry, or in need do tug at people’s heart-strings and there are many reputable donations that take up collections to help people affected. However, the sad truth is, there are just as many people who will try to use these catastrophes to scam people for donations and pocket the funds for themselves. It is ok to donate to help victims in need but use your head along with your heart. Make sure that the charity is legitimate before donating by checking with local chapters of the organization and the Government of Canada website mentioned previously. One common tactic that people looking to scam others use is making up a name that sounds very similar to that of a legitimate charity. Before donating, make sure that you are giving to the correct organization instead of a clone of it looking to pocket the money for personal benefit. For those of you interested, there is more information available at Christian Blind Mission.