• Last modified 2539 days ago (Aug. 9, 2012)


Make sure donations go to charity

The state attorney general’s office offers this advice for evaluating charitable solicitations:

  • Ask for written information, including how much of the money raised is used for charitable purposes and how much will go to a professional fundraiser or to administrative expenses.
  • Be careful with telemarketer solicitations; many times telemarketers keeps a substantial portion of the donation.
  • Be sure the organization actually serves the need it claims.
  • Ask for financial statements to determine who will benefit.
  • Check what the charity’s exact name is. Scam artists often use names that sound familiar to reputable charities.
  • Get the charity’s registration number with the state secretary of state.
  • Ask whether the charity operates nationally and what its national office address is. Ask whether it has a local office, as well.
  • Ask whether the donation is tax-deductible.
  • Search for the charity online and look for complaints by other consumers.
  • Check the charity’s website and read about its programs.
  • Search for information about the charity at and
  • When making a donation, send a check; do not give out credit card or bank information.

Warning signs include:

  • The solicitor pressures you into giving money immediately. Real charities can afford to wait a few days or weeks while a donor makes sure everything is OK.
  • The solicitor refuses to provide basic information such as the charity’s name and address.
  • The donation is associated with a contest, sweepstakes, or raffle that sounds too good to be true.
  • The solicitor requests cash or credit card information but won’t accept a check.
  • The solicitor won’t accept a mailed check and instead sends someone to pick it up.
  • Anyone who thinks he or she has been the victim of a scam should file a complaint with the attorney general’s office.

Last modified Aug. 9, 2012