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Making sure your money goes to the right organization on Giving Tuesday

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Posted at 11:31 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 23:31:43-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday is Giving Tuesday, and many organizations are preparing.

While nonprofits and other organizations look at the day as a chance to generate funds, experts are warning scammers may also be lurking, waiting to take advantage of people's generosity.

"We don't receive enough funding from all of our resources to be able to provide services to all of our clients, so we rely heavily on donations," said James Michaels, VP of Program Services at the Bosma Visionary Opportunities Foundation.  

Like many nonprofit organizations, the Bosma Visionary Opportunities Foundation is looking to take over Giving Tuesday with its "Changing Lives Today" effort.  

"It's our goal that none of our clients pay for the programming they receive,” said Michaels.  

Bosma is one of the largest nonprofit organizations that serves people with vision loss in the Hoosier state.  

"Last year, in the state of Indiana, 48,000 Hoosiers who are vision-impaired are living in poverty and that's a consistent number and it's really only growing," said Michaels.  

"Our stretch goal for [Giving Tuesday] is $25,000. With that $25,000, someone who is blind or visually impaired may receive a braille watch, a white cane, an audible clock or other tools that allow them to be independent," said Jay Geshay, Interim Executive Director at the Bosma Visionary Opportunities Foundation.  

This year, it is predicted that Giving Tuesday will surpass $3 billion, which is about a 27% or $648 million increase over 2020's record-breaking $2.4 billion, according to data from Whole Whale.

As generous as that may sound to many organizations, scammers are a few steps ahead, preying on your pockets.  

"Americans are generous. Many people during this time of the year may feel that they are fortunate and want to assist their neighbors and their community members' needs. We want to celebrate that generosity in so many households. At the same time, with financial transactions and a lot taking place, it's harder to know who's on the other end of that transaction," said Dr. Una Osili, Associate Dean for Research at Indiana University.  
Dr. Osili said it is important now more than ever to fully vet the organizations you are planning to support.  She recommends using third party websites like Charity Navigator or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

She also recommends taking a few extra steps, such as going to the organization's website and making sure their mission, financial metrics and attributes all align.

If you're still not sure, reach out to your local community foundation or United Way for help.  

Bosma is also in need of volunteers all year round. For more information, click here.

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