A.G. Schneiderman Issues Guide For Donating To 9/11 Charities


NEW YORK – As New York and the nation prepare to observe the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued a guide for those planning to donate to 9/11 charities. Schneiderman encouraged generosity and provided information to ensure donations go where intended.

“New Yorkers, Americans and our neighbors throughout the world confronted the September 11 tragedies by asking how they could help the victims and families devastated by the attacks. In the 10 years since, charitable organizations continue to build on the outpouring of goodwill and many are eager to continue that support,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This giving guide is an important resource for anyone planning to contribute to a charity, and will help ensure that hard-earned dollars go where intended.”

9/11 Charitable Giving Guide

Attorney General Schneiderman offers the following tips to New Yorkers making donations to 9/11 causes. He also urges New Yorkers to report suspicious organizations to the Charities Bureau at charities.bureau@ag.ny.gov or 212.416.8402.

Look Up Charities. Review information about the charity before you give. Check the Attorney General’s website – www.charitiesnys.com – for charities’ financial reports or ask the charity directly for this information. Confirm that the charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations by searching the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/app/pub-78/. Some additional websites with helpful information include:

Give to Established Charities. Donate to organizations you are familiar with, or have a verifiable record of success meeting their charitable missions, whether it is establishing a college fund or extending support to victim’s families. Closely examine charities that were established solely for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Ask How Your Donation Will Be Used. Ask specifically how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and organizations your donation will support.  Avoid charities that make emotional appeals but are vague in answering your questions.  Be wary if an organization will not provide written information about its charitable programs and finances upon request. Any legitimate organization will be glad to send you this information.

Avoid Unsolicited Emails. These messages do not usually come from legitimate charities, and responding to them may make you vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. Check the Department of Homeland Security’s tips, such as Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks that are posted at: http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST04-014.html.

Be Careful When Donating via Text and Social Media. Be careful about unsolicited requests for donations received through text messages or social media sites.  Although charities are increasingly using social media and texting for donations, unsolicited requests may not be associated with legitimate charities. Confirm through the charity’s website or a representative of the charity that it has authorized contributions to be made via these formats.

Never Give Cash. It's best to give your contribution by check made payable directly to the charity.  This is safer than giving by credit or debit card.  Be careful about disclosing personal or financial information; never give out such information to an organization or individual you don't know.

Report Suspicious Organizations. If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work, or that a scam is taking place, please contact the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at charities.bureau@ag.ny.gov or 212.416.8402.