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Good Giving Guidelines

The United States is a generous country. In 2019, Americans contributed almost $450 billion to charitable causes. Corporate giving increased to $21.09 billion while foundation giving reached an impressive $75.69 billion. In fact, charitable giving accounted for 2.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2018.

This is the time of year when people traditionally donate to toy drives, food banks and other favored charities. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year for cyber scams. Thus, it is important to make informed decisions about charitable giving.

donation jar

If you are asked to give money to an unfamiliar charity, take a moment to investigate before you contribute.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost created Good Giving Guidelines, a document that helps potential donors verify a charity’s legitimacy. Here are some of the warning signs that a donation request might be fraudulent:

  • The charity’s name is similar to a well-known, nationally recognized charity.
  • High-pressure tactics are used to request immediate donations.
  • The caller is hesitant or unable to answer questions about the charity or how the donation will be used.
  • The individual or entity does not provide a real callback phone number.
  • The caller offers to pick up donations immediately instead of waiting to receive them in the mail.
  • Prizes, cash rewards or sweepstakes entries are offered in return for a donation.
  • The individual or entity requests checks to be made payable to a person instead of the charity.
  • The caller requests bank or credit card information and you didn’t expect the call.

The Charitable Law Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office maintains a register of charitable organizations and professional solicitors that raise money in Ohio.

If you learn that a charity is misusing resources or you know of fraudulent solicitations, please file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.