Exercise wisdom during giving season

Published 9:30 pm Friday, December 1, 2023

An Editorial Opinion of The Luverne Journal

Ahead of Nov. 28, a day designated as “Giving Tuesday,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued an alert cautioning citizens to exercise caution with charitable giving this season. The directive was aimed at Giving Tuesday efforts but is timely throughout the entire holiday season. 

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza and other end-of-year celebrations inspire generosity and there is no shortage of causes to which one may contribute. Marshall recommends donors vet opportunities before committing to the charity of their choice. 

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According to Marshall, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been recognized as “Giving Tuesday” since 2012 and the day has evolved into a movement to promote charitable donations during the holidays which has raised over $1 billion for charities around the world. 

Unfortunately, Marshall regularly sees the generosity of individuals around the state being taken advantage of by people who seek opportunities to scam others out of money. He is urging citizens to be diligent when considering making charitable donation.

“During the Christmas season, so many Alabamians are inspired to bless those around us by donating to a variety of organizations, like a local food pantry or a non-profit assisting Veterans in need,” Marshall said. “There are many great organizations serving our communities, and by doing a little legwork you can make sure that you are contributing to legitimate charities that are truly making a difference.”

Marshall suggests identifying a charity of choice before making a contribution. 

Once identified, check with the Attorney General’s site to verify registration and nonprofit status at AlabamaAG.gov. To verify nonprofit status with the federal government visit: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/

Givers can also run the charity’s name through the Better Business Bureau’s website at give.org for free access to charity reports and to confirm BBB accreditation. 

When searching or inputting the name of a charity in a URL, Marshall said individuals should use the exact name of the charity to avoid similar named organizations that may not be a legitimate charity, or the exact charity of choice.

In the spirit of giving, one could feel discouraged about the need to take such precautions but exercising wisdom can help to ensure your dollars are used as intended. 

Attorney General Marshall asks any consumers who have questions to call the consumer hotline at 1-800-392-5658 or ConsumerInterest@AlabamaAG.gov.