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Money 101 - Five Tips Before Donating

Donate your hard-earned money wisely


When you want to donate money to a charity, you want your hard-earned funds to be used wisely. Because of that, it’s essential to do some research before giving to a charity, especially one you don’t know much about. Here are five tips that can help you to learn more about the fund you’re interested in donating to and how to avoid donating to a scam.

Search online for the cause you care about — like “hurricane relief” or “homeless kids” — plus phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.” Once you find a specific charity you’re considering giving to, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” “fraud,” or “scam.” If you find bad reviews, it might be best to find another organization.

Check out the charity’s website. Does it give details about the programs you want to support or how it uses donations? How much of your donation will help the programs you care about? Be suspicious if you can’t find detailed information about a charity’s mission and programs.

Use one of these organizations that help you research charities:

Find out if the fundraiser and the charity are registered. Some states require that charities register with the state regulator. Check if a fundraiser and the charity they’re calling on behalf of are registered with your state’s charity regulator.

Check if the donation will be tax deductible. If this is important to you, confirm that the organization you’re donating to is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt organization. Look up the organization in the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search.

Finally, don’t rush into a donation. Take your time and make a wise choice. The more a charity urges a quick gift, the more red flags you should consider. And if you’ve been taken, report the scam to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Peoples State Bank

Peoples State Bank is a community bank headquartered in Wausau, Wisconsin, serving north, central, and southeast Wisconsin from ten full-service banking locations in Marathon, Oneida, Vilas, Waukesha, and Milwaukee Counties, as well as a commercial loan production office in Stevens Point, WI.