Give Generously, But Give Wisely on Giving Tuesday

November 28th, 2022

(ATLANTA) – The holidays are a time for charity and giving thanks. In recognizing Tuesday, November 29th as Giving Tuesday, Secretary Raffensperger would like to remind all Georgians that when giving, do so wisely and responsibly.

“Georgians have endured so many hardships over the past few years. COVID-19 placed financial hardships on so many families, who then now deal with rising inflation,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “Georgians are generous people. As the holidays are about the spirit of giving, our office is committed to providing resources to ensure that generosity is going toward legitimate organizations.”

Each year, the Charities Division of the Secretary of State’s office brings enforcement actions upon several deceptive or otherwise illegitimate charities. Georgians that choose to donate to charities should ensure that the organization is legitimate and will use their donations honestly. There are over 10,000 charitable organizations in Georgia alone, with 1,135 new charities registered in 2022 to date. 

“While most charities are simply trying to help those in need, some have shown poor stewardship of charitable donations, or worse," said Charities Division Director Noula Zaharis. “There are so many great charities that need help. We want our Georgia givers to be informed and give wisely so that they do not get scammed by sham charities.” 

Georgians should familiarize themselves with tips on how to ensure that their charitable contributions are being used to give to those in need, and not line someone’s pockets:

- Research charities before you contribute. The Better Business Bureau, the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving AllianceGuideStarCharity Navigator, and Charity Watch provide detailed information about charitable organizations.

- Be careful of email solicitations.  Be cautious of people who contact you online claiming to be a victim. Do not respond to unsolicited emails and do not open any attachments to these emails. These attachments may contain viruses.

- If a tax deduction is important to you, make sure the organization has a tax-deductible status with the Internal Revenue Service. Check the organization’s tax-exempt status and confirm that it is in good standing.  “Tax exempt,” “non-profit”, and “tax-deductible” are not synonymous. Only “tax-deductible” means your contribution is deductible on your income tax return. If you contribute to a charity, make sure you get a receipt which shows the amount of your contribution and states that the contribution is tax-deductible. The IRS has a searchable database (“Exempt Organizations Check”) of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.

- Review the organization’s financials. GuideStarCharity Navigator, and the Foundation Center’s 990 Finder allow you to review copies of nonprofits’ most recently filed Form 990s. These forms contain useful information on a nonprofit’s assets, liabilities, reserves, expenses, and revenue sources.

- Not all organizations with charitable-sounding names are actually charities. Many organizations adopt names confusingly similar to well-known charities. Be sure you know exactly who is asking for your contribution.

The Charities Division encourages Georgians to contact division staff if they receive suspicious charitable solicitations. To report suspicious activity, call (470) 312-2640. You can also email [email protected] to submit a complaint.