Avoid Charity Scams Investigate Before you Donate


Investigate Before You Donate

As April 15th rolls around many people are adding up their charitable contributions to include on their tax returns.  Giving back is something every human being should be doing no matter how small the donation may be. Finding a charity that you feel called to support and then making sure they are a legitimate charity, using the funds for the services they provide and not to line a few executives pockets is a bit tricky.

Specific Charity Scams

Some scammers focus on specific causes to catch you off guard. Rip-off artists will appeal to peoples emotions or tie in with specific disasters in the news. Always check out an organization before donating any money. Some charities use phony names, addresses, seals, and logos that look like or sound really similar to big name organizations or they may claim to be one of the benefiting recipients (ie Vet or Storm victim etc) themselves as a way to gain your trust. You may notice a slight difference in the name of the charity from the one you thought you were dealing with. If this happens call the organization you know to be legitimate and check out if the call is at all connected.

Call the office that regulates charitable organizations and charitable solicitations to see whether the charity or fundraising organization has to be registered in your state. If so, check to make sure that the company you’re talking to is registered. For a list of state offices, visit the National Association of State Charity Officials.

Charitable Solicitations for Vet & Military Families: Learn how to donate to legitimate charities that support service members and their families.

Fundraisers Calling on Behalf of Police and Firefighters: Discover questions to ask telemarketers claiming to call on behalf of local police and firefighters.

A good, highly efficient, charitable organization usually spends about 75 percent of the money it raises on charitable programs and the remaining 25 percent on general administration and fundraising, according to the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Many charities are not living up to their missions. Many organizations spend more than 50% of its budget paying for-profit fundraising professionals to solicit your hard-earned money. They are ranked by the percentage of their total functional expenses spent on professional fundraising fees. As a result, very little of the charity’s spending is directed towards its programs and services. Ranking by CharityNatigator.org gives us a glimpse into the fundraising fees of these organizations.

10 Charities Overpaying their For-Profit Fundraisers

Rank Charity Program Expenses Professional Fundraising Fees
1 Disabled Police Officers of America 6.9% 90.6%
2 Cancer Survivors’ Fund 8.5% 88.3%
3 Firefighters Charitable Foundation 6.9% 87.4%
4 Wishing Well Foundation USA 4.7% 84.5%
5 Children’s Charity Fund, Inc. 4.7% 79.4%
6 California Police Youth Charities 16.0% 79.3%
7 Readers Are Leaders Foundation 0.3% 58.0%
8 Find the Children 32.4% 57.7%
9 New England Paralyzed Veterans of America 36.5% 56.3%
10 United States Deputy Sheriff’s Association 6.0% 54.4%

Great Charitable Associations to Consider 

Vietnam Veterans Association:  National Commander receives zero salary. Donations go direct to Vets.

The American Legion: National Commander receives zero salary. Donations go direct to Vets.

The Salvation Army:  Commissioner receives $13,000 per year plus housing. 96% donated goes to the cause.

Make a Wish : 100% goes to funding trips or special wishes of dying child.

St Jude Research Hospital: 100% goes towards funding and helping children with cancer.

Ronald McDonald House: 100% goes to housing and feeding the families of critically ill kids.

Related Blog: Give it Away: A Guide to Charitable Giving






Sandy J Duncan
Sandy Duncan is completing her Doctorate in Integrative Medicine, a health and wellness coach, Certified Neurofeedback specialist and author of AllNaturalHealthReviews.org. Read honest reviews on current health and wellness products as well as register for FREE giveaways.