Tips for selecting a charity to support this Christmas from Tammy Bowles Raines Law Office, PLLCDuring the holiday season, we are bombarded with requests for donations to a variety of charities. We are asked to provide food for the hungry, toys for needy children, and financial support to many community organizations.

Most of us recognize well-known nonprofits, such as Toys For Tots, Mountain Mission, the Salvation Army, and Secret Santa. But, we may not recognize the many smaller active in our area.

How can you be sure your donations will be used properly?  Finding the reputable organizations to support with your time and money requires some research.

  1. Ask for the official name, address and contact information for the nonprofit you are considering.
  2. Search for the nonprofit online. While many smaller organizations may not have an official website, most have social media accounts. Look for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Google+ accounts. Be sure to check reviews on these and other sites. While one bad review is not necessarily representative of the organization, several can be a warning sign.
  3. Never send cash donations. Keep track of your donations.
  4. Check the WV Secretary of State’s website to see if the charity is registered. 
  5. Make sure the organization is registered with the IRS to receive charitable contributions. Reputable nonprofits register with the IRS and keep up their filing requirements.  Remember, you can only deduct contributions to properly registered organizations from your taxes.
  6. If possible, make your donation in person. By visiting the location, you can check out the organization’s operation for yourself.