Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams yesterday called on Coloradans to give generously to their favorite charities during this holiday season but also to be on guard against charity scams. Williams offered his “wise giving tips” and a database of information about charities raising funds in Colorado to help them make informed decisions. Williams said that “Coloradans are very generous,and we want to make sure their money goes for the causes they support.” Most charities that solicit contributions in Colorado are required to register with the Secretary of State’s Office. The registration filings include information about the organization’s leadership, mission, financial efficiency, and commercial fundraisers. Paid solicitors that raise funds in Colorado also register, and their disclosure forms show the duration and results of any solicitation campaigns conducted. To avoid unscrupulous solicitors and maximize your donations visit the Check The Charity. Pictured: Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams
Williams’ 10 wise-giving tips:
- Ask for the registration number of the charity and paid solicitor.
- Make a note of the individual caller’s first and last name and the name of the telemarketing company that employs the caller.
- Ask the solicitor how much of the donation will go to the charity, whether the donation is tax-deductible, and what charitable programs it will support.
- Do not pay in cash. Donate by check made payable to the charity or use the charity’s website to donate by credit card.
- Make sure you are visiting the official website of the charity you wish to support, and beware of lookalike websites, especially if you are asked to provide personal financial information.
- Research the charity’s disclosure and financial statements on the Secretary of State’s web site.
- Be wary if the charity fails to provide information about its finances. Reputable charities will gladly provide the information requested.
- Watch out for charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. These sound-alike names are intended to confuse.
- If solicited in person, ask to see the solicitor’s identification.
- If you feel uncomfortable, just say, “No, thank you.”