Charleston, W.Va – Secretary of State Mac Warner is asking West Virginia citizens and businesses to use caution when making charitable donations to organizations soliciting financial support for Ukraine or Ukrainian refugees. “West Virginians are known for their generosity and charity. But it is important that donors make sure their contributions are going to legitimate charities that will use the funds for the intended purposes,” said Secretary Warner. “West Virginians give from the heart, but we must give smart.” Numerous organizations are soliciting funds to assist the crisis in Ukraine. To solicit donations in West Virginia, those charities must be registered with the Secretary of State’s Office. Joining forces with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the WV Secretary of State’s Office provides donors the following guidelines in making a donation:
1. Make sure the charity is properly registered. All registered charities in West Virginia can be found at www.erls.wvsos.gov.
2. Research the charity’s reviews and track record. Trustworthy charities put the majority of their donations toward the intended charitable purposes.
3. Be suspicious of any solicitor that pressures you for a donation, especially for making one right away. Never give your social security number or personal financial information. If you are suspicious, ask the solicitor to mail you educational materials rather than making a quick decision over the phone. You can simply say, “I’d like to learn more before donating. Please mail me some materials.”
4. Contact the WV Secretary of State’s Office if you believe that the charity is not operating properly. You can call our office toll-free at 866-767-8683. You can also file a complaint online by going to sos.wv.gov. “We want citizens to support legitimate, registered charities. My office has made it easy to make sure everyone knows which charities are registered to protect donors from scams,” Warner said. You can learn more about secure charitable giving by viewing the “NASS Online Donor & Consumer Guide” here.