Ask charities that request contributions for written information that tells you:
- The exact name of the organization (some sound-alike groups can be confusing)
- The organization's purpose (finding a cure for a disease, or caring for people who suffer from the disease, for example)
- How the group attempts to achieve its goals (its own research, making grants, etc.)
- How much of your dollar is used for true charitable purposes (NCIB Standards call for a minimum of 60 cents out of each dollar spent)
Some things to be aware of...
- High pressure calls and mail solicitations that emphasize emotional content but contain little or no substance
- Charities that won't send written material until you donate, or because there "isn't time" or it's "too costly"
- Phone calls and letters telling you that you have won money or a valuable prize from a charity
- Callers who want to send someone over to pick up your contribution. Insist on using the U.S. Mail.
Some very important don'ts...
- Don't give cash! Write a check made payable only to the full name of the charity.
- Don't pay attention to dunning letters and don't respond to letters that say you have pledged money unless you are 100% certain that you did.