Secretary of State Mark Hammond Encourages Wise Charitable Giving In the Wake of Superstorm Sandy10/30/2012
COLUMBIA -- Secretary of State Mark Hammond encourages South Carolinians wishing to reach out to victims of the recent storms in the Caribbean, East Coast, and Northeast to do so wisely. Potential donors may verify if a soliciting organization is registered with the Secretary of State’s Office by searching our online charities database at http://www.sos.sc.gov/. Click on the “Charity Search” box on the right and enter the name of the charity you are researching. Users can also click on the “Public Charities” section of our webpage, and use the pull down menu to find a listing of “Helpful Websites for Charitable Giving.” Choose one of these sites to continue your search. You can also call our Charities Division at 1-888-242-7484 for more information.
“Because this storm has impacted the most population-dense area in the United States, despair and discomfort will be felt for some time,” said Secretary Hammond. “Living, transportation, and basic needs will have to be addressed. I know that South Carolinians will want to help, so I encourage donors to check out organizations before making a contribution. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this massive storm.”
Charity Navigator offers these tips to consider before giving to a charitable cause during a time of crisis:
Give to an Established Charity
Find a charity with a proven track record of success with dealing with the type of disaster and in the region in which the disaster occurred. If you feel compelled to give to a new charity, be sure to get proof that the group is in fact a registered public charity with 501(c)(3) status. Verify the agency’s legitimacy by using Internet-based resources rather than the charity’s purported website.
Designate Your Gift
By designating your gift, you'll ensure that your donation will be used as you intended. Most charities with online giving portals offer a check box feature so that you can tell the organization how to spend your contribution. If you are mailing in a check, then write a note in the memo section of the check specifying that you want your gift spent entirely on the current crisis.
Be wary of fundraisers who pressure you to make a contribution over the phone. NEVER divulge your credit card information to someone soliciting you over the phone. Instead, ask the fundraiser to send you written information about the charity they represent and do some research on your own. Once you feel comfortable with the charity, send the organization a check directly in the mail, or give through their website, to ensure that your gift goes to the charity and not the for-profit fundraiser telemarketer.