Give wisely to charities

  • Follow Letters

This time of year, most of us will be receiving solicitations to support charities by mail and by phone. It is important to make sure that the charity you donate to is legitimate, and that the money you send is actually used for the purposes you intend it for.

Unfortunately in these tight times even major legitimate charities that do very good work have started to use unethical telemarketers to get access to their mailing lists to raise funds.

Several recent reports (Bloomberg Markets magazine, National Public Radio) have come out regarding such telemarketers, including InfoCision Management Corp., a company that advertises it raises more money for nonprofit organizations over the phone than any other company. However, InfoCision typically retains 50 percent, and even up to 100 percent, of the money solicited. They are currently making calls in the CSRA. Further, their phone solicitors do not reveal the truth about the percentage of the money that will go to the charity.

One tactic they use is to say they are not asking you to donate money, but rather they ask if you would agree to send mailings to your family, friends and neighbors, asking them to donate money. This is a deceptive way to get you to take part in their duplicitous activity.

To determine if a charity is legitimate in the first place you can check on them at such sites as Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org), the Wise Giving Alliance (bbb.org/us/charity) or the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org/azlist.html). If you wish to make sure your donations really go to the charities you want to support, do not give over the phone to telemarketers, even to major trusted charities. Instead, either donate to the charity directly (check how on their websites or call them); to their local branch or during an event such a walk; or via the United Way.

William D. Hill, Ph.D.

Augusta

(The writer is an associate professor in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy at Georgia Health Sciences University.)

Comments (13) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
shrimp for breakfast
5460
Points
shrimp for breakfast 11/21/12 - 04:58 am
9
0
I saw something about this on 60 minutes.

Yes folks we must be careful. There are always people willing to make money even lying saying it's for a Charity which I believe is the lowest scum on the Earth. There must be a special Hell for people like this.

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 11/21/12 - 08:13 am
11
0
Totally Agree

Check how much of the contributions actually make it to those the charity purports to represent. Don't even get me started. Some charities create organizations that pay those involved to give a speech now and then and THAT'S IT. The intended recipients get little or nothing.

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 11/21/12 - 08:56 am
1
0
Don't give to anyone who will not provide
Unpublished

a financial statement. All 501(3) c organizations are not required to share their finances. The Salvation Army and the Golden Harvest Food Bank are two that provide data on where all money is spent. The salaries of their employees are transparent.

The head of the United Way makes about $950K per year. The head of Unicef makes about $1.5 million. Franklin Graham makes about $350K as head of Samaritans Purse and will not provide financial records. Feed the Children from Oklahoma. Larry and family each make over $300K each to distribute food. Why don't these people volunteer their time and resources? They want you to volunteer?

So called biblical charity has become big business. Beware of those who would give your money to the needy for a modest fee of 50% of the top. Duplicitous services. Everyone is getting involved. Pyramid schemes. Churches now have financial advisers and estate planners on paid staff.

Your money would be better spent going to the BOGO sales and donate the free one to the needy.

Petty thieves are not the only ones who show up around holidays.

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 11/21/12 - 10:00 am
8
0
Tough times bring out the worst in people

Great article professor. I believe you gave good sound advice all the way through to the end, until you mentioned United Way. After what they did, and continue to do, to the Boy Scouts of America, I consider them one of the lowest of all so-called "charities".

Another suggestion would be for good hearted folks to avoid organized charities all together and help people in need directly, where 100% of their donation goes to the cause and they will see immediate results. That's percisely what God wants us to do anyway. Not be lazy and support a non-profit charity.

Fundamental_Arminian
1849
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 11/21/12 - 10:30 am
8
0
Scams kill generous spirit

The Lord Jesus predicted, "Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12 ESV). Nothing can kill the spirit of generosity the way scam artists can. It's good to learn of web sites that can help us know how much good, if any, our gifts are doing. Thanks for the good letter, Dr. Hill.

allhans
23992
Points
allhans 11/21/12 - 11:23 am
7
0
Remember the "adopt a family"

Remember the "adopt a family" plan this Christmas. Businesses, churches...forget name drawings and find a needy family to help.
You are in control...

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 11/21/12 - 02:39 pm
8
0
How a 501 works...................

let's say I want to start a charity; I'll call it the "Save the endangered Earthworm" Charity. I set up a 5-member board of directors, and give them a salary, plus perks; then I get a "big" name to use as an attention getter; let's say that the "big" name wants $100K for their endorsement, and the board members each get $10K for their "efforts". Now that everything is in place, I announce that we are trying to raise $1M to "Save the Endangered Earthworm." Everything is coming along, but rather slowly, so I hire 200 telemarketers to help solicit funds; now with the telemarketers, there is no salary, only the promise of, say 30% commission on all money that comes in.
And we are now off to a good start; Things are going well, and we end up getting donations of, let's say $2M. By "501 law", we are only required to be liable for the "advertised amount" of the campaign, less the overhead expenses............so, here is how it breaks down now:

We now have $2M in the bank, and we take out the original "advertised amount" needed, which is $1M; from that we take out, $150K for the "big" name and the 5-member board. That leaves $850K; but we have to pay the 200 telemarketers also, that comes out to $3K in commissions for each one. That is a total of $600K; now the AVAILABLE "Advertised Amount" is down to $250K for the "Save the Endangered Earthworm" Foundation.
But, wait; what happens to the extra $1M that was collected; by law (remember law has two sides, it either makes you do something, or allows you to get away with doing something); being a non-profit, you cannot have anything in reserve at the end of the tax year,........so you being CEO and one of the board members, recommend that each individual member set themselves up a "personal" 501c, and then the 5-member board votes unanimously to donate the left over funds to the 5 "new" charities. BOTTOM line, each board member has "tax free" capitol gains of $200K each !!! AND just to add something interesting, check out how many WELL KNOWN Democrats head up, or have their name tied to multimillion dollar charities..........just sayin'......."they will ALWAYS tell you........."it's the law!"

This is why that ALL of my money going to charity either goes through my local church, or I personally handle the donation face to face with the recipient.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 11/21/12 - 02:49 pm
9
0
I remember one time, I

I remember one time, I organized a corporate golf tournament, with then, MCG being the recipient for the funds collected; we were successful in raising over $5K...........but, as the organizer, I did NOT have control of the money. The company bookkeeper handled that end; what he did was take $4400, and spend it on prizes and give-aways for the golfers (made the company look REAL good, because he did not tell everyone that in reality they paid for the prizes; he let them think that our company donated these items.) MCG even had a local television station to interview us after the tournament, expecting a decent check from the event; I refused to be interviewed, as I was totally embarrassed that we only gave MCG a check for a little under $600.00. I let our Sales Manager perform the interview...........I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT "EVERY PENNY COLLECTED" SHOULD ALWAYS GO WHERE IT IS EXPECTED TO GO.

grinder48
2005
Points
grinder48 11/21/12 - 03:44 pm
0
0
No More Charity
Unpublished

No need to give anything to charity any more since obama is taking our money and distributing it to the less fortunate. The 46 million people with EBT cards are eating much better than I can afford to eat and getting free cell phones and every imaginable kind of service that I can't afford because I'm paying taxes to support them. Taxpayers, think about that when you're feeling charitable ... no more $ to charities because since it equivalent to paying twice.

YeCats
11220
Points
YeCats 11/21/12 - 04:17 pm
7
0
scgator

"This is why that ALL of my money going to charity either goes through my local church, or I personally handle the donation face to face with the recipient."

Worth repeating.

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 11/21/12 - 04:50 pm
7
0
I am in total agreement with

I am in total agreement with the letter writer and the commenters. It is always best to give directly to the person or people you want to help. I have followed one organization where the director was paid an almost 6 figure income and there was one clerical support person. This organization was able to accumulate a huge sum that never made it to the intended recipients.

JRC2024
9255
Points
JRC2024 11/21/12 - 06:57 pm
4
0
Never put your neighbors on

Never put your neighbors on the spot by mailing those envelops like the askers want you to do. There is an email going around that shows just how much the pay is for the charities and it is an eye opener. The Augusta Rescue Mission would be a good place to give if you desire.. They are a Christian group that helps many and you can see the results in our local area. Th money stays here and doesn't go to some third world country or to a country that hates the US. Good letter and advice Dr. hill.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/21/12 - 07:39 pm
4
0
Too many "charities" are only

looking after themselves.

In our family we have been avoiding middle men for years. It has become a tradition for us to note needy people and families in our area and anonymously help them. Either on the spot, or in other ways like a mailed Food Store Gift Card.

Sean M.
could you set up a way for every one to share such stories anonymously?

I am sure the CSRA would love to see and read of the Average Joe Philanthropy going on in the area.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 11/21/12 - 09:57 pm
2
0
I agree 100% about AUGUSTA

I agree 100% about AUGUSTA RESCUE MISSION !!! They are local, and have ALWAYS maintained themselves "above" reproach !!!!! EXCELLENT CHOICE FOR DONATIONS

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 11/21/12 - 11:56 pm
1
0
Riverman1 is so right ...
Unpublished

Please folks, do the research (it's easily available online) and find out how much of the money you donate actually goes to the cause you wish to support. You'd be amazed (well, maybe not those who post here regularly), at how much actually goes directly to the cause you wish to support and how much goes to "administrative overhead expenses." Give generously, but give wisely.

Back to Top

Top headlines

ARC to honor 1956 championship team

Because the championship year of 1956 has never lost its glory in Richmond Academy football lore, the team will be honored Thursday at the third annual ARC Hall of Fame banquet, where 10 alumni ...
Search Augusta jobs