How to donate safely on Giving Tuesday

Let’s be honest – you probably spent a little something on yourself this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's cool! 78 percent of us were expected to. But now it’s time to give.

Giving Tuesday saw more than $180 million donated online last year. $100 was the average donation. People gave a ton of toys, too. Giving Tuesday started six years ago at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. It's already gone global.

If you do choose to donate money, watch out for scams. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t donate if an "organization" calls you and pressures to give.
  • Trust your gut.
  • Be careful with giving your credit card number over the phone. Most legit organizations have options to donate securely.
  • Donate to a group you'd usually give to during the year.
  • Ask how much of your gift is goes to charitable services, as opposed to fundraising and administrative costs. Be wary if they claim 100 percent will go straight to the cause, because that's usually pretty impossible.
  • Research the charity before you give. There's a lot of tools online that make it easy like the IRS Nonprofit Charities Database, Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch.