Do some homework before being generous

PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN) – South Dakotans are extremely generous, whether the giving comes in the wake of a national disaster or during the gift-giving season, which is upon us.

“I encourage South Dakotans to continue to give to those less fortunate, but to follow these precautions to ensure their donation is going to the cause it is intended,” said Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim:

• Verify the legitimacy of the nonprofit organization as well as its nonprofit status. Visit such sites as
www.charitynavigator.org or www.guidestar.org.

• Ask specifically how this donation will be used.

• Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much will be used to pay fundraising costs.

• Beware of charitable organizations that use sound-alike names of reputable organizations.

• Donors should not respond to any unsolicited emails, but rather go directly to recognized charities or aid organizations.

• Do not pay cash. For security reasons write a check.

• If you want additional information about the charity, ask that they send it to you in writing. Any legitimate organization will be more than happy to provide this information to verify their legitimacy.

• Be wary of social network fundraising and crowdfunding. If you are planning to donate this way, read the fine print to understand any fees that may be associated with your donation. Take the time to research to better understand how your donation will be used and to ensure the funds are going to the intended purpose. Most of these types of fundraising efforts are not regulated.