(COLUMBIA) --In anticipation of Midlands Gives, Palmetto Giving Day, and other fundraising events being held this week, South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond is encouraging donors to practice wise charitable giving. “Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations need our support,” said Secretary Hammond. “I encourage everyone to be generous and give to their favorite local charities. Just remember to research the organizations to make sure they are using your dollars wisely.”
The Secretary of State’s Office recommends that donors take the following steps before making a charitable donation:
- Check to see if the charity is registered with the Secretary of State’s Division of Public Charities. You can use the Charities Search feature on the Secretary of State’s website to check whether a charity is registered to solicit, and also review the charity’s most recently filed financial information. Through the Charities Search feature, you can see the charity’s total revenue, total expenses, fundraising costs, and the percentage spent on charitable programs for the previous fiscal year. A pdf copy of the organization’s last annual financial report is also available for review.
- If you are solicited directly through a donation, either in person or over the phone, be sure to ask the following:
- What is the name, location, and mission of the charity?
- How much of your donation will be used for program services?
- If you are being solicited by a professional fundraiser, how much of your donation will go to the charity, and how much will be used to pay for fundraising costs?
Also, never feel pressured to make a donation without doing your research first. A reputable organization will welcome the opportunity for you to take a closer look before deciding to give.
- Notify the Secretary of State’s Office if you have any questions or concerns about a charitable organization, a professional fundraiser, or a raffle. You can contact the Division of Public Charities at email@example.com or 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484). If you would like to submit a complaint about an organization, you can use the Online Charitable Solicitation Complaint Form at sos.sc.gov to file a confidential complaint 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Midlands Gives is an 18-hour giving marathon held on May 4, 2021, conducted by the Central Carolina Community Foundation. Midlands Gives benefits participating charities in the counties of Richland, Lexington, Newberry, Calhoun, Fairfield, Clarendon, Lee, Sumter, Orangeburg, Saluda and Kershaw. Palmetto Giving Day is held May 4-5, 2021, and benefits participating charities in Georgetown County.
“These events are a fantastic opportunity for South Carolinians to come together to support their favorite causes and help those in need,” said Secretary Hammond. “As always, give from the heart, but please give smart.”