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Tips for Giving

Ask Questions
You should always ask why the charity or organization is seeking donations, how the money will be spent and if the charity is registered with the State of Tennessee.  Find out if the person you’re speaking with is a paid solicitor or a member or volunteer of the organization.If they are a paid solicitor, ask what percentage of the donation is kept by the fund-raiser.  Sometimes the paid solicitor receives most of the money donated to the charity.

Check Facts On Charity
There is nothing wrong with asking a charity for its name, address and telephone number, and then checking the information before you donate.  A legitimate charity will not keep this information from you, and will not pressure you to give on the spot.  Be wary of charities offering to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect the donation immediately

Check To See Where the Money is Going
If you would like to know the breakdown of how a charity spends its money, there’s now an easy way for you to access that information.  View financial summaries for all the charities registered in the state of Tennessee.  You can also call the division for information at (615)741-2555.

Avoid Giving Cash
For security and tax purposes it is best to give your donation by check, because cash can be lost or stolen.  Make your check out to the charity, not to the person collecting the money.  Always ask for a receipt showing the amount of your contribution, and whether the donation is tax deductible

Beware of Scam Artists
Scam artists may take advantage of high profile events or tragedies by creating bogus fund-raising operations. Be suspicious of organizations with vague plans or no plan at all for distributing the donated funds.  Sometimes, organizations will have names similar to well-known charities and organizations.  Know who is asking you for money.

Give What You Can
Once you find a charity you wish to support, contribute as often and generously as you can afford.  Worthy charities are most successful with long-term, committed supporters