In celebration of “Giving Tuesday,” and recognizing that many Oregon families and communities are struggling this holiday season, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is reminding Oregonians to make careful and informed decisions when donating to charities.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfire recovery continue to impact people throughout our state, we are thankful to be able to turn to charities to provide critical services and resources to individuals and communities,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “If you are in a position to donate money, be sure to do your research and make informed decisions in order to maximize the impact of your giving.”
One way to support Oregon wildfire recovery is by giving to the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund, a joint effort of the Oregon Community Foundation, the Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Ford Family Foundation. The fund, which has raised $5.5 million in philanthropic and private pledges and donations to date, will invest in recovery and rebuilding — particularly for Oregon’s vulnerable communities. Learn more at https://oregoncf.org/oregon-wildfire-relief-recovery/.
To avoid potential charity scams, follow these five tips:
1. Do your research.
There are more than 1 million charities registered with the IRS. Use these websites to find the charities whose missions and programs are the best match for you.
2. Only give to registered charities.
Before you give, check the Oregon Department of Justice charity database or call 971-673-1880 to confirm that the organization is properly registered with the Oregon Department of Justice.
3. Monetary donations are usually preferred.
Your financial donation will give a charity the most flexibility to meet the needs of the people they serve. Some groups may not have the resources to manage, store and distribute clothing, food or household goods. Check in with the organization first to make sure they can make use of the items you wish to donate.
4. Be wary of telephone, text, email or door-to- door solicitations.
Keep in mind that scammers are always lurking, and they see opportunity in a crisis. Resist high-pressure appeals for donations and don’t send cash or respond to requests to purchase and send gift cards. To maintain the most control over your giving, it’s best for you to initiate the contact with a charity — not the other way around.
5. Remember that not all gifts are tax-deductible.
Only gifts to charities that have IRS 501(c)(3) status are tax-deductible. If taking a deduction is important to you, check the DOJ’s Charity Database IRS website to ensure your gift is going a qualified organization. Make sure the charity provides written confirmation of your donation. Then keep your records. Gifts to individuals through GoFundMe and similar platforms are not tax-deductible.
For additional giving tips, please visit Wise Giving Guide and After The Disaster Handout. If you have concerns about a solicitation, please file a complaint online or call the Charitable Activities Section at 971-673-1880.
Happy holidays, and thank you for your generosity and for engaging in Wise Giving!
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and serves as the state’s law firm.