UNDATED -- Americans give millions to charity every year and the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is warning you to make sure your chosen charity is on the up and up.

Charities that fail to disclose financial data and day-to-day operations information are the biggest red flags the BBB is warning you about. With the 28th being Giving Tuesday, the BBB wants to make sure your charitable dollars are going to legitimate organizations.

President and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota Susan Adams Loyd says it's extremely difficult to review charities that don't disclose information, especially for Giving Tuesday.

"It's nearly impossible to honestly evaluate charities that don't disclose operational data - for whatever reason, it makes it all the more important for potential donors to ask even more questions of such charities, or to simply focus their attention on charities that do disclose operational data."

BBB's Wise Giving Alliance regularly asks charities to disclose all information related to their operations so your job is easier. When charities don't give the BBB that information, they get classified as "non-disclosure". That's a warning to you to be cautious when donating to a certain organization.

The BBB has helpful tips to consider when choosing where to donate your hard-earned money.

  • Ask for information about the charity, what it does, who it supports, and how.
  • Ask for specific information about the charity, name, address, and phone numbers.
  • Contact the Attorney General's Office
  • Do not send or give cash donations.

The BBB says if a charity doesn't participate in its review process, they can miss out on money that people donate to organizations that do provide data. Give.org has reports on charities, based on money, how well-run they are, and even its ethics.

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