To help Tennesseans avoid charity fraud and maximize their donation’s impact, the Secretary of State’s Division of Business and Charitable Organizations created Wise Giving Tips guidelines, which can be viewed at sos.tn.gov/charities.
The Wise Giving Tips are:
- If a nonprofit asks you for a contribution, check if it’s registered with the State of Tennessee on the Secretary of State’s website sos.tn.gov/charities or by calling 615-741-2555.
- Take your time. Resist pressure to give on the spot.
- Ask questions. If an organization has a specific mission, ask how and who will benefit from your donation.
- If you are asked for a donation via text or email, verify the request is directly from the charity or nonprofit.
- Do your own research and don’t assume a social media or blog recommendation has been approved by the nonprofit.
- If you give through an app or website, make sure your donation goes directly to the organization.
- Avoid giving cash. Always ask for a receipt and if your contribution is tax-deductible.
- Pay close attention to the name of the nonprofit organization. There are many organizations with similar names.
- Don’t forget there are many ways to give, such as volunteering your time.
- If a paid fundraiser asks you for a donation, ask how much the fundraiser keeps and how much goes to the nonprofit.