Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Give Wisely This Holiday Season and Don't be Fooled by a Fraudulent CharityLos Angeles – It is estimated that millions of dollars are given annually to fraudulent and unscrupulous charitable solicitors. During the holidays, solicitations are amplified, preying on the generous nature of people during this time of year. Of course, most solicitations are from legitimate charities that provide needed and valuable services in the City of Los Angeles. But, how does a donor know if the organization is reputable? Learn the Give Wisely Tips, and if in doubt, call the Los Angeles Police Commission's Charitable Services Section.
Give Wisely Tips
1) Know your charity and check it out.
• Call the Los Angeles Police Commission's Charitable Services Section at 213-978-1144
• Look at the State of California Attorney General's Web site at caag.state.ca.us.
2) Ask questions.
• Ask the solicitor for their Los Angeles Police Commission Information Card.
• Ask exactly what the money will be used for and what percentage of the donation actually goes to that cause.
• If you are being solicited over the phone by a law enforcement-related organization, ask specifically which law enforcement agency will benefit from your donation. Actual law enforcement agencies never solicit over the phone.
3) Know your rights.
•If you agree to have someone come to your home to collect a donation, be aware that the person cannot come to your home before 48 hours has passed. This time is provided to allow time for you to find out more about the charity and change your mind if you wish.
Often, charities will contract with a fundraising company that is in business for profit. Solicitations made over the phone are usually conducted by a for-profit fundraising company. In these cases, the for-profit fundraising company receives the majority of the donation, sometimes as much as 95%.
The Los Angeles Police Commission's Charitable Services Section regulates charitable solicitation activities such as appeals for donations and charitable events in the City of Los Angeles, in accordance with Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 44.00. This regulatory program consists of receiving and investigating "Notice of Intentions to Solicit Charitable Contributions"to assure compliance with the City's Charitable Solicitation Ordinance. After a successful investigation, an "Information Card,"is issued to the charity. This card provides important facts to be considered by a prospective donor in determining the desirability of making a contribution. Copies of "Information Cards"must be made available to all potential donors. Upon completion of the solicitation campaign the charitable organization is required to submit a Report of Results of Activity to be reviewed by Charitable Services Section for financial accountability to the public.