Charity scams are frequently reported during the fall and spring seasons, with the majority of scams occurring around holidays.
“People are in a giving mood because of the holiday and people contribute charitable donations for federal tax purposes at the end of the year,” said Andy Good, regional vice president of the Eastern, Pa. Better Business Bureau.
Organizations conduct solicitations in various ways: through direct mail, door-to-door appeals, the telephone, traffic intersections, busy store locations, the Internet and announcements in newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
For individuals who have a strong desire to make charitable donations, the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance offers advice for donors to consider.
According to the bureau, people should be cautious of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on describing what the charity will do to address the matter at hand. They also advise against giving cash to the organization. Instead, make a check or money order payable to the organization, not to the individual collecting the contributions.
Lastly, avoid giving credit card or other personal information to a telephone solicitor. Ask the solicitor to provide written information on the charity programs and finances. Be cautious of charities that are reluctant to answer questions about their operations, finances and programs.
Organizations should be able to provide information on how much of the given contributions go toward the program mentioned and how much will go toward other fundraising costs.
“At least 70-80 percent of contributions should be spent on the program described in the appeal. The remainder 20-30 percent should go toward fundraising,” Good said.