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What to consider before making online donations today

Today is recognized as Giving Tuesday, a philanthropic way for people to give to those less fortunate during the holiday season.
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COLUMBUS — Today (Dec. 3) is recognized as Giving Tuesday, a philanthropic way for people to give to the less fortunate during the holiday season.

Online giving often makes the donation process easier for charities and for donors, but there are things to consider before giving online.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost urges Ohioans to be generous with their pocketbook — and with their time in checking out those seeking donations.

“We all need to open our hearts, our wallets — and our eyes,” Yost said in a news release.

Each year brings new, easier ways to give to charities with smartphones and social media. As online technology continues to advance, so too do charitable giving options. Ohioans can encounter numerous third-party platforms that facilitate charitable donations, including popular social media platforms, crowdfunding sites, giving portals and even within gaming live-streams.

Yost's office offers these tips:

  • Do not assume that charity recommendations on social media sites already have been vetted. Donors should research the charity, including whether it is registered, on the “Research Charities” section on the attorney general’s website.
  • Be cautious of look-alike websites and charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. Sometimes they are simply intended to confuse donors.
  • Make sure the donation website is secure. Look for the “s” in “https” at the beginning of the web address, which means the site is secure.
  • Watch out for emotional appeals. Scammers know it just takes a click to donate online and can capitalize on the convenience and spirit of giving with fake pictures and stories.
  • Determine what percentage of the donation will go to the charity and whether there will be any fees for donating.
  • Identify what the website will do (if anything) with personal information; and be wary of websites that do not provide a privacy policy.
  • Donors also can check the following resources to learn more about specific charities: IRS Select Check, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar.

Residents with questions about charitable registration should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or through email at