Do your research before giving your money to a charity

Knowing where your money will go can be critical

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – When you throw coins in a jar, or write a check to a non-profit organization, do you know where your money’s actually going?

Professional solicitors collected $543-million for charities in Massachusetts last year, but the State Attorney General said those organizations only saw $338-million of it.

Attorney General Maura Healey said on average, 62 cents of every dollar collected by a professional solicitor was directed to the charity in 2014, which is up from 47 cents in 2013.

Chesterfield resident Michelle Ryan told 22News that’s why she researches before she donates. “I’m not surprised by it, but I think that’s why you should have the due diligence. It’s easy to investigate things now because there’s the Internet, you can find out more because you do have that as a resource,” she said.

If you’re ever unsure whether a charity is legitimate, you can use a watchdog website to double check before you donate. You can check to see whether they actually exist, and if so, where the money you spend will go.

Knowing where your money will go can be critical.

Lesser Newman & Nasser Attorney Michael Aleo told 22News fraudulent charities are more common than you might think. “If you don’t know the organization and you’re not sure whether you should trust them, you probably have a reasonable basis to be suspicious. Don’t give money over the phone by credit card, don’t respond to an email, particularly not by credit card,” he said.

If you’re still questioning an organization’s legitimacy, you can call the Consumer Protection Bureau, or the Attorney General’s office.

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