Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Charitable Giving SCAMS

     Between September 29 and October 14, 2015, AARP engaged Alan Newman Research to conduct a research study among the general population in seven select states: Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington. It explored holiday fraud and scams in the upcoming holiday season.  One of the topics included charitable solicitations and donations.

REF:  AARP Study Results
     Data from this survey showed:
  • 70% of those who donated to a charity or fundraiser in the past 12 months did so without asking what percentage of their donation went to the fundraiser versus to the charity itself.
  • 52% said they didn't know that professional fundraisers are allowed to keep most of the money they raise for charity as long as they don’t lie about how much they keep.
      Before making a charitable donation make sure the group you choose will put your money to good use and not spend it on big salaries for its executives or huge payments to professional fundraisers.
      The easiest way to research national charities is with the three major charity watchdogs: Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. They rate charities based on how they spend their money, protect donor privacy, govern themselves, and more. They use somewhat different criteria and don't always agree, so check out a charity with all three groups. (Only CharityWatch requires a donation for full access, although it provides useful information without one.) 
     The watchdogs don't always rate the same charities, so look for a charity that has high ratings by at least two of them. Sometimes the BBB Wise Alliance says it didn't rate a charity because the group did not provide the information necessary for an evaluation. Take that as bad sign

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