How to Give Greatly (and Safely!) This Holiday Season

December 1, 2022

Giving to local charities with connections to our communities is something many Bank Iowa clients do throughout the year, and particularly during the holiday season. With the increased number of charitable scams, it’s important they do so safely.

While some folks choose to donate local, many others also provide gifts and donations to charities on a national scope. In these circumstances, donors may not be as familiar with the entity asking for money.

All charities are astute at tugging at heart strings through traditional and digital mediums. Scam charities are arguably even more so. One of their go-to tactics is to generate an unnecessary sense of urgency, putting generous people in a hurried state. Before you give of your time, talents and treasures, take a moment to review these reminders to ensure you are giving greatly (and safely!) this holiday season.

1)     Don’t feel rushed –take a day to think about the opportunity.

2)     Don’t rely on caller ID – scammers can change the name and number that appears on your caller ID, even appearing to be local when they are not.

3)     Research the charity – complete your own online search for the organization and find out how much goes to charity vs administration costs. Look up the charity’s ratings and reports. Ask a trusted friend or family member who gives to the charity you are considering; ask them to review any information you are unsure about.

4)     Be aware of overly sentimental claims – being suspicious about vague claims that stir emotions or tug at your heart doesn’t make you a bad person; it makes you smart and cautious.

5)     Double check your records – if the charity claims you or your spouse previously donated, make sure your books conquer..

6)     Never donate with wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency – anyone who asks you to make a donation this way is likely trying to scam you. Be very leery of this type of donation request.

7)     Ask for a receipt –  when you donate to a charity, maintain records of the donation and others for tax purpose’s as well as for sound financial record keeping.

8)     It’s never too late – if you think you may have sent money to a scam charity, stop engaging and write down all the information you gave the entity. Once you know the extent of the information they have about you, you can start to put together a plan. A great resource to visit is


Contact your local chamber of commerce to find out which nonprofit organizations operate in your community and what the impact of your donation will do for your community and your neighbors.

Donating to legitimate charities can be an enjoyable and uplifting experience. We’d like to see the giving spirit of Bank Iowa clients stay healthy.


To learn more about potential fraud activities related to gifts and donations, please visit the following resources: