The holidays are upon us, which means it is time for giving. In a 2016 survey, the AARP Foundation ElderWatch found that 80 percent of Coloradans give to charity, but only 46 percent of those who gave verified the legitimacy of the charity. Before you give, take these simple steps to ensure the money you are donating is going to the intended cause:
- Never give payment information to an unsolicited caller.
- Give locally to organizations you know do positive work in your community.
- Ask for a registration number of the solicitor/charity.
- Ask the solicitor how much of the donation will go to the charity and how much goes to the solicitor.
- Do your research. Be wary if the charity fails to provide information about finances. Reputable charities will provide the information if requested.
- Watch out for charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. These similar sounding names are intended to confuse those who give.
- Do not pay in cash, donate by credit card or check made payable to the charity.
- Beware of unsolicited email. Instead, go directly to the organization's website or call to make donations.
- Don't feel bad about saying "no" to charitable requests you are not comfortable with.
- Make a plan for your yearly giving and contact those organizations directly.
Before you give, visit www.checkthecharity.com to verify the charity is authorized to solicit donations in Colorado. If you don't have access to the internet feel free to call the AARP Foundation ElderWatch at 1-800-222-4444, option 2, to speak with an ElderWatch volunteer specialist who will check the charity for you, or visit www.aarpelderwatch.org