Did you know that Colorado is one of the most generous states in the country when it comes to charitable giving, ranking eighth in the nation, according to a WalletHub study? That may have something to do with the success of Colorado Gives Day, which takes place on December 6 this year.
Colorado Gives Day is one of the largest one-day giving movements in the country, and a great tool for figuring out how to make your donations more effective in supporting the causes you care about. You can go online any time now through December 6 at the Colorado Gives website and research the missions, programs, and finances of more than 3000 Colorado nonprofits and plan on making your seasonal or annual donation to the groups of your choice. Colorado charities have raised more than $362 million on Colorado Gives day since the event began in 2010.
By encouraging donations on a particular day early in December, the program not only helps people make their donations in a timely and efficient manner. It also helps them get more bang for the buck. Every nonprofit receiving a donation through Colorado Gives Day also receives a portion of an incentive fund offered by the Community First Foundation, which currently exceeds $1.4 million. Every participating nonprofit will get a piece of that, increasing the value of every dollar donated.
The resources available through Colorado Gives Day can help spare the confusion and uncertainty about how your donations are being used. They can also help you verify if a charity is legitimate. If you do receive unsolicited appeals for money this holiday season, by phone or email, here are some tips from the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, and other government agencies on how to protect yourself from fraudulent charity schemes:
- Don’t be in a hurry. Scammers will often try to pressure you into an immediate donation or claim they are following up on a “pledge” to donate that you never made. Don’t go along with this, don’t volunteer any personal information, and don’t click on any links from unsolicited emails. If the cause sounds like something you might want to support, seek additional details from the charity’s official website and from watchdog websites (see below) before making any decision. Keep in mind that the solicitors may be using a name that sounds similar to a real charity and that the number on your caller ID may be “spoofed,” to make it look like the caller is local or based in a legitimate charity rather than operating out of a boiler room.
- Verify that the charity is legitimate. Several organizations monitor the nonprofit world and can help you determine if the charity actually exists and how it spends its money. These include the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, CharityWatch, and Charity Navigator. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service offers a Tax Exempt Organization Search that can tell you if your donation would be tax deductible.
- Avoid unsecure transactions. Never pay by gift card or a wire transfer. A credit card is a safer way to go. Before doing so, determine what “administrative costs” might be involved that reduce the amount that might actually go to the cause you’re trying to support. After making the donation, check your account to make sure no additional charges are made.
- Report the fakes. If you do encounter a fast-spieling telemarketer or an email of dubious origin that you suspect is part of a charity scam, you can relay your suspicions to the FBI tipline or file a complaint with the FTC. You can also share your concerns with the agency that regulates charities in your state. Then you can relax and give freely — to a charity that deserves it.
THE CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or financial losses as the result of corporate fraud, data breaches, defective products, medical devices or a dangerous prescription drug, the consumer protection lawyers at Franklin D. Azar & Associates may be able to help. We have been helping injured people receive the compensation they deserve for more than thirty years. Call us today at 800-716-9032 or contact us here for a free, no-obligation consultation.