Raffensperger Encourages Georgians to Give Wisely on Giving Tuesday

November 30th, 2021

(ATLANTA) - The season of giving has arrived. Secretary Raffensperger is reminding Georgians giving to the less fortunate to give wisely and responsibly. 

“The financial hardships that many are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented,” said Raffensperger. “While Georgians should continue to donate to charity during the holiday season and support those in need, it’s important to take the time to ensure your money is going to a good cause.”

Georgians that choose to donate to charities should do their best to make sure that their contributions and donations are sent to legitimate organizations that will use their donations honestly. We encourage you to research any organization before making a donation. 

The following tips are actions individuals can take to make sure that their charitable contributions are being used for those in need:

* **Research charities before you contribute.** The [Better Business Bureau](https://www.bbb.org/), the [Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance](https://www.give.org/wise-giving-guide-new), [GuideStar](https://www.guidestar.org/), [Charity Navigator](https://www.charitynavigator.org/), and [Charity Watch](https://www.charitywatch.org/) 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](https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search) (“Exempt Organizations Check”) of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.

* **Review the organization’s financials.** [GuideStar](https://www.guidestar.org/), [Charity Navigator](https://www.charitynavigator.org/), and the [Foundation Center’s 990 Finder](https://candid.org/research-and-verify-nonprofits/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. For more tips, go to [https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Charities/donate_wisely](https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Charities/donate_wisely). To report suspicious activity, call (470) 312-2640. You can also email [email protected] to submit a complaint.