Checking up on charity requests

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SPRINGFIELD-For many people, charitable giving is an important part of the holidays, and the Illinois Attorney General’s office has some recommendations for considering requests from charities.

Deputy Press Secretary Annie Thompson said those who see or receive a request for a donation need to first research the organization making the request.

“Because a charity is on Facebook or social media doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been vetted,” Thompson said. “You want to check their name. You can go ask them for other information in writing, such as how much of your donation will go towards their charitable work as opposed to paying staff salaries.”

The Attorney General’s office provides a searchable database of charities that includes reports filed by charities with the Internal Revenue Service. You can find that database here.

Thompson also cautions against solicitations that use high-pressure tactics.

“That’s sort of a red flag,” Thompson said. “If you’re getting emails or text messages from charities or solicitors, one thing you want to do is actually contact the charity itself that that individual is saying they represent, and you can ask them ‘Is this the sort of method that you’re using this year?’ You just want to make sure that it’s actually the charity that’s approaching you.”  

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