BBB Wisconsin says use your brain when opening your heart and donating to charity
This time of year, the BBB Wisconsin tries not to dampen your spirit of giving, but just wants to give a friendly warning that not all charites are alike.
If you want to take advantage of a tax deduction, then make sure you're giving to a 501 3(c) or non profit.
Jim Temmber of the BBB says many times folks will collect on behalf of a huge cause or massive natural disaster.
They should willingly let you know if it's an independent collection or part of a non-profit.
Go Fund Me Pages or Facebook many times will feature worthy causes," says Temmer. "But it's not a charity. If you give to an individual, no matter how needy they might be, if it is not a certified 501 3(c) as designated by the IRS, then your charitable donation is not tax deductible."
Temmer says any reputable charity would have no problem showing you the IRS certificate, if it isn't already posted on their website or social media.
Temmer says it's also important to ask who is actually raising the money. Is it a telemarketer on the phone? If so, you might want to consider that the cost to use telemarketers is high. In some cases, as much as 80%.
"We advise if you do find charity you like, politely hang up go to that website and donate directly. So, all of that money goes to them and not the cost of fundraising."
Temmer says never give money or write a check out to an individual. The contribution should go to the formal charity name.
He also says pat attention to the name and make sure it matches up to the charity you want.
"We've had cases with knock offs to the American Cancer Society and they're not as good. Do your homework."