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Is This Charity 'Legit'?

   Nov 29, 2022

Is this charity "legit"? Or, more correctly, is this charity "legitimate"? This is one of the most common questions asked by donors. And yet, what a donor defines as a "legit charity" may be vastly different from what is required for it to be registered and in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state regulators. 


"'There are a lot of very 'scammy' charities out there that sort of exist just to enrich fundraising companies, and they will target causes that are really popular,' says Laurie Styron, the executive director of CharityWatch..."


"According to Styron, there is a big difference between being a 'good' non-profit and a 'legitimate' one. To be 'legitimate,' a charity just has to be registered and in good standing with the IRS. 'There are no laws mandating that a charity has to spend a minimum percentage of your donation on their programs, so the difference between an outright fraud--a scammer--and a legitimate, but highly inefficient charity might only be the difference between none of your donation being spent on programs and 1% or 2% of your donation being spent on programs,' she said." 


"It's also important to avoid making decisions on a tight deadline or under pressure. 'Instead of waiting to be asked and then having to react and try to understand if that's a worthy cause or a worthy person to help, be proactive,' Styron suggested. 'Think about what's important to you. Find a good charity working in that cause and support that organization.'"