The Internet has worked in several positive and negative ways when it comes to online donations. In terms of positives, it has opened wider avenues for solicitation and has given the public an easier means of making a contribution. However, the flipside is that there are a number of unscrupulous organizations that are just waiting to fleece you and several others that gain access to your personal information and sell them to other organizations who will spam your inboxes with solicitations.
So how do you make your donation online and still be safe? The first is to get to know your charity the best you can. Make all the inquiries you need to about their legitimacy. Ask them for information in writing. If they should hesitate on their financials or the people backing them, then you should be a bit wary of such organizations. Check their status with the IRS as this should give you a clear idea of their background.
Get their contact information and make sure that each of these means are legitimate and working. Their address should be real, so should their email. This id should also be functional. Speaking to a person at the organization will clear everything up. Ask any questions you need. Remember that foreign based charitable organizations do not come under the purview of one’s country laws and you should be careful with such places.
When you receive information from these organizations for review, make sure that it isn’t dated. This is one thing that most people forget to check. It’s often assumed that the information provided is accurate and current. Unless you verify the information, you could run into the chance of donating to a organization which possibly no longer exists.
If you choose to donate online, make sure that you are doing so safely. Look into the encryption codes on the site and how private your information is kept. Make sure your transactions are happening from a safe URL. If it’s possible think about making your donation in person. That way you’re sure of getting the money across to the right person.
When you get your acknowledgment, make sure that it’s in compliance with IRS requirements. The full amount you’ve made out to the organization should be included. Never allow yourself to be coerced into making a payment. You have a right to choose which organization and how much you are willing to pay to the charity.
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