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N.C. Secretary of State offers advice on donating during Giving Tuesday

N.C. nonprofit organizations file their annual reports with the Secretary of State's office
N.C. nonprofit organizations file their annual reports with the Secretary of State's office(wect)
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 8:00 PM EST
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SOUTHEASTERN, N.C. (WECT) - If you’d like to participate in Giving Tuesday Nov. 30 but aren’t sure which nonprofits use their donations wisely, North Carolina’s Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall says there’s a way to find out. The Secretary of State’s office is where charity organizations and nonprofits file their annual reports.

Marshall says you can start by looking at the nonprofit’s 990 form.

“You can look at how they spend their money — how much goes to salaries — how much goes to office rent,” Marshall says.

You won’t find all charity organizations. There are well over 120,000 nonprofits in North Carolina but only about 37,000 organizations file some variation of the 990 form with the IRS. Some are exempt.

Marshall says in addition to looking up an organization’s 990, you can go to a website set up through the Secretary of State’s office.

“You will see how much money goes to the good work, the program of the charity, and how much goes to overhead. I believe most North Carolinians want most of their dollars and a good portion of them to go to the actual mission of the organization. So you can look and see if an organization has only given 20 percent of your one dollar [or] every dollar to the actual program. That’s probably not a very efficient organization. Sometimes they bite off more than they can chew,” Marshall says.

According to a report recently released from Marshall’s office, the North Carolina Secretary of State Charitable Solicitation Licensing (CSL) Division Annual Report finds that licensed fundraisers raised $34,055,649.92 from North Carolinians for licensed charities during the 12-month period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. That represents a $10.8 million decline from overall giving in campaigns using professional fundraisers seen in the 2019-2020 report, but the $26,588,279.24 netted by charities resulted in an aggregate of 78.07% going to charities’ programs — just 2.5% down from last year’s record high return of 80.53% to charities.

“The total charitable giving has been down some in North Carolina and the percentage, though, of the amount going to charity this past year was actually 78 percent so I think another [year] over 75 is really good,” Marshall says.

Giving Tuesday is recognized across the country as the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

In New Hanover County, dozens of nonprofit organizations will gather at Plaza on Princess at 410 Princess St in hopes of raising funds.

To learn more about how to make a donation, click here.

Marshall encourages North Carolinians and people in the Wilmington area to give.

“Nonprofits out there are meeting so many needs in society today and it’s been hard because a lot of them tell me that people who used to help them make contributions and be volunteers are now seeking assistance themselves,” Marshalls says. “So, these are tough times and charities, especially in the food area and housing area, do need your help so please consider but give wisely.”

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