TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - November and December are the two biggest months of the year for charities to raise money, as people are often in a more giving mood around the holidays.
Some Floridians also use the end of the year to donate for tax purposes.
However, it can be tough to tell which organizations actually use the money for the services they advertise, versus those that mainly spend donations on salaries and overhead, and others still that are outright scams.
With a few exceptions, most charities are required to register with the state.
Adam Putnam, commissioner of agriculture and consumer services said, "It is real money, flowing from Floridian's pockets into these charities. So, it is important to remind people during this holiday season when much of that giving occurs, to be a smart giver."
Putnam added that someone who wants to be generous at this time of year should always check out any charity they are donating to, before giving them cash.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encouraged Floridians to take the following simple steps when preparing to make a charitable contribution.
First, check-a-charity out before donating. Use the department's check-a-charity tool to view a charity's financial information and current registration status.
Second, watch out for scams. Scammers take advantage of people by pretending to be a real charity to commit fraud.
Finally, keep good records. Always keep and save a printed copy of a donation or a receipt showing the amount of the contribution.