1. Is my donation tax-deductible?
If the answer is “no,” then the organization may actually be a labor union, fraternal organization, political lobbying group, or even a for-profit company claiming to be a charity. Before you donate, ask the organization for its full legal name and address.
2. Do you work for the charity or a telemarketing company?
Some charities use their own employees or volunteers, while other hire outside contractors. If the caller works for an outside telemarketing company, the smart follow-up question is…
3. What percentage of my donation does the charity receive?
By law, telemarketers must answer this question truthfully. While some charge a reasonable percentage for their services, others keep as much as 99% of your donation.
4. Can you mail me some written information?
Your donation is an important decision and you deserve the right to make that decision on your own time after thoughtful consideration. Refusing to provide written information and pressuring you to make an immediate gift are major red flags.
5. How will my donation be used?
Ask for detail: When, Where, Who. If the caller claims to have local programs, ask where the programs are located. Con artists will frequently avoid getting too specific, because specific claims can open them up to fraud prosecution.
And remember, before you give, check out the charity with your BBB!