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Giving during the holiday season is noble, and common. Legitimate charities know this—that’s why you hear from so many of them—but so do the bad guys.
While it is good to give to those in need, make sure before taking out your personal or business wallet that any request for your hard-earned dollars is legitimate. While many organizations take in and distribute money in ways you would approve, many others do not.
Many claiming to be charities are simply scams; others, while legitimate, would not meet your approval in how they distribute your gift or who gets the ultimate benefit.
Here are seven sure-fire ways to ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck when giving:
1. Don’t respond to pressure: the more pressure, the less likely the appeal will pass the smell test.
2. Don’t respond to emotional appeals to GIVE NOW: if it’s legit, the need will be there tomorrow.
3. Ask if receipts will be issued with a CRA registration number. If not, stop!
4. Do your homework before giving. Only give after you know who is asking for your money.
5. Keep your receipts. CRA will often allow you a tax deduction (so later you can give even more!).
6. Don’t give money to others when doing so would hurt your own family or business.
7. Want to help but can’t afford to donate? Volunteer! Time, as they say, is money.