When your are asked to give to a charity:
If you wish to discuss a charity with a professional you may to contact
- Get as many facts as you can, including the charity's exact name, address
and telephone number. Request to see the solicitors identification. Many California
cities and counties have passed ordinances that try to protect the public against
fraudulent solicitation. These ordinances may require charities and charitable
fundraisers to register, certify their tax exempt status, obtain a license to
solicit, and file accounting of fundraising proceeds. Find out from your city
if such ordinances are in effect.
- If you are solicited by telephone, ask to be mailed information about the
charity's purpose, goals and finances before making any donation.
- Don't be fooled by names that sound impressive or that closely resemble the
name of a familiar organization.
- Don't give cash. Make checks out to the charitable organization, not the person
asking for the donation. Never give your credit card number.
- Ask how your money will be used. Ask how much money will actually reach the
charity and whether the solicitor is being paid to make the call. Ask whether
the solicitor represents a professional fundraiser and whether the fundraiser
is registered. Registration is not proof that the fundraiser is trustworthy,
but failure to register violates California law.
- Don't give into pressure to donate on the spot. Legitimate organizations will
not rush or pressure you into giving money immediately.
- Do not accept any offers to send a messenger to your home to pick up your
- You are under no obligation to pay for or return unordered merchandise, such
as return address labels, greeting cards or pens enclosed with a appeal letter.
- Hang up the telephone on aggressive and harassing solicitors.
Council of Better Business Bureaus,
Philanthropic Advisory Service
Your local Better Business Bureau (See your local telephone directory for listing.)
You may also contact the:
National Charities Information Bureau
American Institute of Philanthropy
Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report
If you wish to report a charity which you suspect to be conducting fraudulent
activity, contact the Registry of Charitable Trusts in writing. It is the job
of the Attorney General's Charitable Trusts Section to detect and to correct
charity fiscal abuse. You may write to the Registry of Charitable Trusts at
P.O. Box 903447, Sacramento, CA 94203-4470.