Before donating to charity, FTC urges research – NBC Boston

If you are considering donating money to charity during the holiday season, do your research first.

“While most charities, a large majority, are legitimate and honest, there are some that are not,” said Chuck Harwood, regional director of the Federal Trade Commission.

He says you should ask lots of questions before you donate to charity.

“You often don’t realize if your money is going to a legitimate charity or a scam because you no longer have contact with them. It’s not like you receive a product in the mail, so it’s very important to do your research ahead of time, ”he said. “Slow down and make sure you know who you are donating to before you donate.”

Research the organization online and find out what charity watch groups have to say about it.

And beware of bogus websites that mimic legitimate ones.

If someone is pressuring you to donate, especially during an unsolicited phone call or knock on the door, don’t be afraid to say no.

And don’t assume a donation request is legitimate just because a friend posted it on social media.

Be sure to ask questions if you are contacted by a professional lawyer. Ask how much of each dollar donated will go to the charity.

You can also search the state’s public charities annual returns database to see the breakdown of how much of your money goes to the program you want to support.

And you may be able to match your donation to a nonprofit with a corporate match.

“Billions of dollars aren’t given away every year, in part because people don’t realize that the company they work for may be willing to match the donations they make,” said Matt Schulz, analyst Chief Credit Officer at Lending Tree.

Schulz realized he could double his donation when he started a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society earlier this year.

“I contacted my company to see if there was anything they could do, and learned that Lending Tree had a charitable donation matchmaking program,” Schulz said. “They will match up to $ 1,500 per year in employee charitable donations, and that even includes cash donations for the volunteer time you give.”

Different companies have different guidelines, time frames, and maximum consideration amounts.

If you are unsure whether your business has a matching charitable giving program, be sure to ask before you donate.

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