What To Do When You Are Approached For Charitable Donations


When you are approached by a door-to-door solicitor for a contribution of either your time or your money, ask questions -- and don't hand over any cash (or charge your credit card) until you're completely satisfied with the answers. Charities with nothing to hide will encourage your interest. Be wary of reluctance or inability to answer question.

1) - Ask for the charity's full name and address and demand identification from the solicitor.

2) - Ask if the contribution is tax-deductible as a charitable donation.

TIP: Contributions to tax-exempt organizations are not always tax-deductible.

3) - Ask if the charity is registered or licensed by state or local authorities (required by most states and many communities).
TIP: Registration in and of itself does not mean that the state or local government endorses the charity.

4) - Watch out for statements such as "all proceeds will go to charity". This can mean that money left after expenses, such as the cost of written materials and fund-raising efforts, will go to the charity. These expenses can make a big difference, so check carefully.

5) - When you are asked to buy candy, magazines, or show tickets to benefit a charity, be sure to ask what the charity's share will be. Sometimes the organization will receive less then 20% of the amount you pay.

Caution: Don't succumb to pressure to make an immediate donation or allow a "runner" to pick up a contribution.

6) - Call your local Better Business Bureau if a fundraiser uses pressure tactics, such as intimidation, threats, or repeated or harassing calls or visits. Such tactics violate the Council of Better Business Bureau's recommended standards for charitable solicitations.