How To Be Sure You're Donating To The Right Charities - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

How To Be Sure You're Donating To The Right Charities

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Augusta, GA -

It's the time of the year when a lot of us donate to charities, in fact, earlier this week was Giving Tuesday, a day that encourages charitable activities during the holiday season. But there are a lot of questionable charities out there, so the Georgia Secretary of State is warning people to do research before donating.

The Salvation Army is famous for its bell ringers who inspire others to place donations inside red kettles, but have you ever wondered what happens to your money after you donate?

"Without the individuals in this community, thousands of people would go without 107,000 meals a year being served in our shelter. We wouldn't be able to do that without the donations that they give. 35,000 nights of shelter... we wouldn't be able to do that," Major Tony Perez.

But not all charities are helping people like The Salvation Army. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is reminding people to do research to make sure donations are being used properly. It's something that Major Tony Perez recommends as well.

"Find out how much a dollar goes towards their services. In our case, The Salvation Army, it's 81 cents from every dollar that goes to programs and services," Perez says.

But there are some other tips you can follow to make sure you don't get scammed.

- If solicited by phone, ask for the request in writing before you donate.

- Never give out your credit card or personal information to a telephone solicitor.

- Find out if your donation is tax deductible.

- If a charity claims to be raising money for local police or firefighters, check with the local departments first.

But the most important tip of all, is to decide, in advance, which charities you will support.

"Convenience isn't always the best option. You want to be sure that your donations are going to stay in your community, it is impacting people, and it's changes lives," Perez says.

You also want to be careful about any organizations that ask for money through email or text messages.

You can do research before donating by visiting or the Better Business Bureau's website.

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