SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra today provided a list of guidelines to Californians who choose to donate to charities through online charitable fundraising platforms. Charitable fundraising platforms are third-party internet-based platforms that allow the donor to give to charities listed on the platform. The fundraising platforms include Amazon, Benevity, Charity Navigator, CrowdRise, eBay, Facebook, GoFundMe, Google, GuideStar (Candid), Lyft, Overstock, and PayPal.
“As online fundraising evolves, it is important for donors to make wise and informed decisions,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The California Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that Californians’ charitable donations are not misapplied. I encourage donors to always do their research before making a donation of any kind.”
Online Donation Guidelines
Attorney General Becerra recommends that, when donating through charitable fundraising platforms, donors should be aware of how the donation process works for indirect methods of charitable giving. Online donations are permanent and non-refundable. Prior to submitting a charitable donation using a charitable fundraising platform, donors should research and confirm the following:
- Who is the intended recipient of your donation? On most charitable fundraising platforms, donors actually make donations not to the charity they select, but instead to the charitable fundraising platform or its partnering platform charity. The expectation is that the contribution will eventually get to the intended charity. If that is unclear, find another way to support the intended charity, such as contacting the charity directly.
- Will the charity receive the donation? When donations are made to the charitable fundraising platform or its partnering platform charity, custody and control over the donation remains with the platform. The platform may retain the right and discretion not to give the donation to the charity you recommended.
- How long will it take for the charity to receive the donation? Check to see if the platform has a disbursement policy that clearly explains how long it retains donations before granting them to the charities chosen by donors.
- How much of your donation does the charity receive? Fees may automatically be deducted from your donation, such as credit card processing fees or other transaction fees. Be sure to research and inquire about fees that may not be disclosed.