Recently, the Attorney General provided important tips that Joe Robach and his office thought all New Yorkers should know. As the country mourns the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and prays for the speedy recovery of survivors, the Attorney General encouraged New Yorkers to give and offered the tips for those wishing to donate money to help victims and their families.
Joe Robach and his office encouraged residents to take the following tips under consideration.
Check Before Giving. Donate to charities you are familiar with and carefully review information about the charity before you give. Most charities are required to register and file financial reports with the Attorney General’s Office if they are raising money from the public. Check AG website, www.charitiesnys.com, for financial reports of charities or ask the charity directly for its reports. Check to see if the charity is a tax-exempt organization. The following websites contain helpful information to evaluate charities:
American Institute of Philanthropy – www.charitywatch.org
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance – www.bbb.org
Charity Navigator – www.charitynavigator.org
GuideStar – www.guidestar.org
Ask How Your Donation Will Be Used. Check how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and individuals your donation will support. Avoid charities that make emotional appeals but are vague in answering your questions or that will not provide you with written information. Confirm that all of your contribution will be used to help victims of the bombings and whether you are able to restrict your gift to that purpose.
Be Wary of Newly Formed Organizations. Donate to charities you are familiar with, or that have experience assisting victims of tragedies. Often, in the aftermath of tragedies, new organizations are formed with claims that they will assist victims. While some of those organizations may be doing just that, others turn out to be scams. Before making a contribution to a new organization, find out who is running it and how it plans to use donations. If you are not satisfied with the answers or are not familiar with the organizers, consider giving to another charity.
Be Careful When Giving Through Social Media. As with other recent tragedies, social media sites are being used to raise money for victims of the bombings. Before giving through these sites, check out who is behind the fundraising efforts and ask the same questions you would of a charity.
Before You Text A Contribution: Check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message. Keep in mind that donations via text messaging may not reach the charity until after your phone bill is paid. It may be faster to contribute directly to the charity.
Don’t Give Cash. Give directly to the charity either by check made payable to the organization or through the charity’s website.
Be Careful About Personal Information. Avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message. In all cases, make sure you are familiar with the organization to which you give such information and check to see that the fundraising campaign is legitimate.
Avoid Unsolicited Spam Emails. These formats are usually not associated with legitimate charities..
Report Suspicious Organizations. If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work, or that a scam is taking place, please contact the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact the office of Joe Robach.