Delmarva charities warn of scams on Giving Tuesday

(Delmarva Now) -- The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as Giving Tuesday.

On this day, nonprofits and 501(c)3s from across the nation hold fundraisers to generate revenue for the upcoming year.

Despite the good that goes into Giving Tuesday, the day is also marred by scams.

The Maryland Secretary of State is warning people about scams which occur on what is supposed to be a day of giving.

“The holiday season inspires a spirit of generosity to help those in need, but unfortunately, scam artists are also stepping up their efforts to take advantage of that generosity,” said Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith through a press release. “It is important for all Marylanders to be vigilant and know exactly to which charities they are donating.”

The issue is not limited to just Maryland. Both Virginia and Delaware nonprofits and their leaders, such as Pat Tosi, the Director of Development for Children's Beach House, have warned people about scam charities which are not affiliated with any organization and, instead, are lining one individual's pockets.

"Donors should know the organization, make sure it is a nonprofit and make sure they are upfront with who they are to ensure it is not a scam," she said.

Julie Badger, the executive director for the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation, said a good way to avoid scams is to make sure people do not click on emails or give over the phone if they do not know the sender, the caller or the charity they are representing.

"Unfortunately, many of the emails someone receives on Giving Tuesday are scams," she said. "Do not donate, no matter how moving they are, unless you know the sender or the charity is valid."

Erica Joseph, the president of the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, said her organization has taken proactive steps to ensure people are both donating to legitimate charities and the charities the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore are legitimate.

"All of the organizations we deal with have been reviewed, all are located in the local area and they are all 501(c)3 organizations," she said. "If people want to donate, for Giving Tuesday we have created a page where people can donate to the local charity of their choice."

Joseph said there are incentives for people to donate on their site. The organization that receives the most single donations or raises the most money will be recognized and monetary awards.

To avoid scams, Tosi advised people to donate locally.

"Giving locally is really a plus because you are aware of what that nonprofit is doing in your community and you have the confidence in your giving," she said. "Also, when you give locally, you are benefiting the community."

The Children's Beach House will allow people to donate online on Giving Tuesday, which Tosi said allows them to capture a wider variety of people.

Badger and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation are not doing anything for giving Friday — their main fundraising drives are in the fall and the spring — but Badger still spoke to the generosity of the residents of Accomack and Northampton Counties.

"Given the small population and demographics, it's amazing how generous people are," she said.


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