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The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Firefighters Are Still Calling

As we have mentioned before, when charities call, you are better of putting the phone down, and, if you believe in the mission of the organization, donate directly to them. There is even more concern when fire service organizations call. As we have seen in previous blog entries, firefighter charities are notorious for using professional fundraising companies to solicit funds on their behalf, with usually a very large percentage of donations going to the professional fundraiser instead of the charity itself. A newspaper article in today’s Hartford Courant explains that this is happening to yet another 0 star charity. The Association for Firefighters and Paramedics is under investigation by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for suspect fundraising tactics. The AG’s office is unsure whether the organization is even aware that calls are being made in Connecticut. For donors having encounters with professional fundraisers, please hang up, and if you are so inclined, use our tips to ensure the organization of your choice receives all your money, without a percentage being directed elsewhere.

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1 comment:

Colin Oakes said...

Moreover, many of these organizations are not "charities" (or foundations) at all (i.e., 501(c)(3) organizations), but rather 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6), or 501(c)(10) organizations, and any donation made to them is not tax-deductible on the part of the donor. They're also required by law to disclose these facts when they (or the fundraisers they employ) make a solicitation. Most of the time, however, they don't, because they want to trick you into believing that they're charities.

So, it's right to be suspicious of such organizations, and right to refuse to donate to them.