When the pink envelope with a pink invoice arrived from the National Breast Cancer Research Center at Jo Kachigians home this past week, she knew exactly what to do.
She took a precautionary measure and looked up the charity.
This solicitations donations are used for fundraising expenses, administrative costs, public education and program services, according to a statement of facts.
Last year, the Walker Cancer Research Institute (a project of the research center) raised more than $11 million. It spent 51.12 percent on fundraising, 42 percent on public education in conjunction with fundraising appeals, 1.61 percent on administration and 4.52 percent in research program services.
You should warn people and urge them to be responsible donors by taking time to learn about a charity before donating, the Garden City resident wrote in her email.
Whether you are solicited by phone, mail and email or in person, BBB suggests that you remember to ask who wants your money. Some charity organizations hire professionals and pay them a portion of the money raised. If youre solicited for a donation, ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser, who he/she works for, and the percentage of your donation that will go to the charity. If you dont get a clear answer or if you dont like the answer you get go somewhere else.
Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the fundraising. Ask for written information: name, address, website and contact information.
You can check out charities with Better Business Bureaus Wise Giving Alliance at www.bbb.org/charity.
Here are a few more tips from the BBB:
Trust your gut and check your records if you have any doubt about whether youve made a pledge or a contribution. Callers may try to trick you by thanking you for a pledge you didnt make. If you dont remember making the donation or dont have a record of your pledge, resist the pressure to give. Be wary of charities that spring up associated with current events or natural disasters. They may make a compelling case for your money, but as a practical matter, they probably cant get your donation to the affected area or people.
Watch out for similar-sounding names. Some phony charities use names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations. If you notice a small difference in the name, call the organization to check it out.
Be cautious of promises of guaranteed sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. According to U.S. law, you never have to give to enter a sweepstakes.
Be wary of charities offering to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect your donation immediately.
Know the difference between tax exempt and tax deductible. Tax exempt means the organization doesnt have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means you can deduct your contribution on IRS forms.
Robb Hicken: 947-2115