Tips for donating online

Tips for Online Donation

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Know Your Charity
Make sure you know the exact name of the organization you wish to support. Some charities or websites have names that sound similar. In order to confirm you are donating to a legitimate nonprofit, you should be familiar with the name and reputation of the charity you intend to support. If in doubt, check with your local State/Government Office or Community Information Center. 

Give to Legitimate Charities 
Only give to charities recognized by the appropriate governmental body in their respective country. Look for the charity to explain their tax-exempt or nonprofit (NGO) status in a FAQ or similar area of their website. You should understand before you make a gift what type of tax receipt you can expect. Some advocacy organizations are not allowed by law to issue tax deductible receipts, but you may still wish to support their work. If in doubt, ask the charity to provide an explanation before you give.

Ask Questions
Any legitimate charity seeking your support online or off will give you ample opportunities to ask questions and learn about their mission. Charities should provide documents, such as annual reports, etc., at your request.

Give Safely
Make sure the charity's website uses encryption technology for online donations and data transmission. Before providing any sensitive or confidential information (i.e., credit card number, personal identification data, etc.), verify the submission page is secure (encrypted). The letters https:// - rather than http:// - should precede the page's URL and/or there should be an unbroken key or padlock symbol located in the corner of the web browser. If in doubt, contact the charity by telephone or by email before you provide the information online. 

Give Directly
The Internet provides tremendous opportunities to support the charity of your choice directly. Don't get taken by "charity" or "someone is in need" chain letters. Emails that claim money will go to a specified charity each time the message is forwarded are not true. 

Demand Privacy
Check for a privacy policy that specifies what information is collected, who has access to it, how you can remove and update information and how the charity plans to use it.

Keep Records
Print a copy of the final confirmation screen that appears after you make your gift. Also keep a copy of the charitable gift confirmation email for your records. If you don't receive an email confirmation, contact the charity to make sure they received your gift. 

Look for Contact Information
A reputable charity will provide several contact methods in case you need assistance with questions, problems or service. Look for a charity's address and telephone number as well as their email address. 

Know How Donations Are Used
A reputable charity will want to share more of their work with you and describe how they plan to use your gift to fulfill their mission. If you are not certain how the charity will use your charitable gift, ask!

Look for Accountability
Your favorite charity should provide regular updates through email or its website on its use of donated funds to fulfill its mission.


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