Giving Tuesday: Check to see how S.C. nonprofits are spending donations

VIDEO: Giving Tuesday: Check to see how S.C. non-profits are spending donations

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Tuesday marks the day known as “Giving Tuesday," the worldwide philanthropic event which kicks off the charitable season.

It was created in 2012 as a simple idea and over the years the idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. If you're looking to give money to a local nonprofit, one of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. You can give your time or donate money.

If you're looking to give money to a local nonprofit, it's always good to know how that charity spends the money they receive. South Carolina's Secretary of State keeps track of all of that information.

More than 12,000 nonprofits are currently registered in South Carolina. In fact, according to the Secretary of State, when it comes to nonprofits, South Carolina ranks in the top 10 across the nation when it comes to charitable giving.

Every year, the Secretary of State comes out with their "Angels" list in regards to charities. There were two in the Lowcountry.

Meet the Needs Charleston, located in Mount Pleasant, was honored as an Angel for using 98% of its donations to feed the hungry. The Secretary of State also honored Water Missions International, in North Charleston, as an Honorary Angel. Water Missions International gave 88.1% of its donations to its stated charitable purpose. Water Missions International was first recognized as an Angel in 2006.

Every charity in the state must register with the Secretary of State and must turn in their financial reports each year. This is so the state can keep tabs on how you spend donor money. And you have access to the information.

If you go here, you can type in any charity to search. Once you find the charity you want to view, click on its name. If you scroll down, you'll see a simple breakdown of their financial report. If you'd like to see a more detailed version, the latest 990 form can be found just below the financial breakdown.

Not every charity in the state is complying with the rules and are on the Secretary of State's "Suspended Charities" list.

At last check, the Secretary of State says about 300 nonprofits are not supposed to be asking for money. In going through the list, most are suspended because they have not turned in a financial report. If you don’t turn in a financial report, the Secretary of State’s office sends you a notice saying they have not received an annual report. After 15 days, if the charity still does not file, they are issued a fine. That fine is $10 a day – until it maxes out at $2,000. Once a charity gets to that point, they are placed on the suspended list. That list is published online to the public. Notices are sent every step of the way.

At a quick glance, there are dozens of charities suspended in the Lowcountry including Moncks Corner, North Charleston, Daniel Island, Georgetown and more.

A reason it’s so important to check before you give away your money.

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