Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs encourages Washingtonians to do their due diligence and conduct research on the charities or nonprofits to which they donate to support relief efforts in Ukraine.
“Americans are a generous people. Whenever a tragedy or crisis occurs around the world, we express our compassion by donating to any number of honest, legitimate charities,” said Secretary Hobbs. “These charities have the resources and infrastructure to ensure the money we contribute directly supports their designated causes.”
“On behalf of the government of Ukraine and its people, we are grateful for the compassion and generosity of Washingtonians and so many millions around the world,” said Valeriy V. Goloborodko, Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Seattle. “I am thankful for Secretary Hobbs’ commitment to helping people protect themselves against fake charities that are undermining genuine, legitimate efforts to support the people of Ukraine. Thank you for both your spirit and support in driving strong efforts to provide relief where Ukrainians need them today.”
“Unfortunately, malign actors and scam organizations try to profit from these crises and take advantage of people’s generosity,” Secretary Hobbs added. “As the state agency responsible for registering corporations and charities, we encourage people to research any nonprofits and charities they choose to support before donating.”
The Office of the Secretary of State’s Charities Division offers the following tips for anyone considering donating to a charity, nonprofit, or relief organization:
· Check the charity’s registration status. Charities operating in Washington state may need to register and submit reports to the Charities Division. To determine whether a charity is properly registered and in good standing, search for the charity on the Corporations & Charities Filing System at ccfs.sos.wa.gov.
· Check the charity’s experience and if Ukraine crisis relief matches its purpose. Charities that are formed or that shift their direction overnight to respond to a crisis may lack the experience, contacts, or staff to address the issue. Look for charities that have a track record in the region and a good reputation. Consult watchdog organizations like Charity Watch or Charity Navigator that evaluate thousands of charities across the country.
· Be cautious of online fundraising. Before donating online through charity websites or online giving portals, review the Charities Division’s Guide for Online Giving. Avoid donating to any charities or individuals online unless you know them.
· Do not share personal financial information over the phone. Do not share your credit/debit card or bank account information over the phone, and don’t feel pressured to do so. Send donations directly to the charity. A legitimate charity will not pressure you to make a donation immediately.
For more tips and resources, visit the Charities Division’s GIVESMART! webpage at www.sos.wa.gov/charities/givesmart.
In addition, the Washington State Combined Fund Drive (CFD) offers a list of several reputable and reliable charities — including Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF USA, and American Red Cross International Services — to which Washingtonians can donate.
Administered by the Office of the Secretary of State, the CFD is the charitable-giving program for state and higher-education employees and retirees.
Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.
Source: Washing Secretary of State