Tips: Charitable Contributions

When a charity that you are not familiar with calls you for a donation, ask for its New York State charities registration number! Then ask the caller to send you something in the mail that you can read and think about before making a donation. All legitimate charities must be registered with the New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau. Contact the Charities Bureau by visiting or calling 1-212-416-8401 to investigate the charity.

Questions to ask the Charities Bureau:

  • Is the charity registered?
  • How long has it been registered for?
  • What percentage of the money actually goes to the charity?
  • Does the charity pay someone to solicit for it?
  • Have any complaints been filed against the charity?

More Tips When Planning to Make a Donation:

  • Use Your Charitable Dollars Wisely. Research the organization before you donate. Only gift to charities that you know are reputable.
  • Look Out for Similar Charity Names. Some scammers use names that are similar to well-known charities in order to confuse donors. Always double check the name of the organization to which you’re donating.
  • Be Wary of Emotional Appeals. Scammers try to talk about problems by sharing sad stories, but are vague on how donations will be spent. Do not feel pressured into making a quick decision. Ask for information in writing so that you know where your donation dollars will go.
  • Know about For-Profit Fundraisers. New Yorkers should know that many phone solicitations for charities actually come from for-profit fundraisers. In some cases, less than half the money you give through a paid telemarketer actually goes to the charity. Donors can learn more about how charities use their donations by visiting the Attorney General’s website,