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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Charity Donation Hints and Tips

BALTIMORE, MD ( December 3, 2009) - The holiday season is underway and consumers may be flooded with requests for donations from a host of charities. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler is advising Marylanders to be donation savvy this holiday season. While there are many reputable charitable organizations that accept donations for many worthy causes, Marylanders need to be wary of unscrupulous folks pretending to raise money for charitable organizations.

Consumers are frequently contacted through telephone or door-to-door solicitations. For both solicitations, consumers should make sure they know the following:

  • The full name, address and phone number of the charity.
  • If the charity (and paid fund-raiser, if one is used) is registered with the Maryland Secretary of State.
  • How much of the donation goes toward the charitable work and how much goes toward administrative costs or the fundraising company contacting the consumer.
  • For what purpose the contribution will be used.
  • If the contribution is tax deductible.

Marylanders are advised to be wary if the solicitor refuses to send written material or financial information. Bogus charities use names and logos that closely resemble well-known organizations with similar purposes. They often ask for a credit card number or offer to send a courier to pick up checks before a consumer can change his/her mind.

Donors have the right to ask as many questions as necessary to make an informed decision about whether or not to donate. If the charity resists answering questions, Marylanders should not give. Consumers should remember that the need will still be there after they have been able to thoroughly evaluate the legitimacy of an organization.

For more information regarding charitable giving, consumers can visit the Attorney General’s website at http://www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/tip42.htm.

If consumers have any questions concerning a charity, they should call the Charitable Organizations Division of the Maryland Secretary of State’s office at 1-800-825-4510 or visit www.sos.state.md.us/charity/charityhome.aspx.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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