Chicago – Ahead of Giving Tuesday, Attorney General Kwame Raoul cautioned potential donors today to make wise giving decisions this holiday season. Under Illinois law, fundraisers and charitable organizations are required to register each year with the Attorney General’s office.
“I encourage potential donors to review my Charitable Trust Bureau’s tips before making donations today for Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season,” Raoul said. “I will continue to advocate to inform generous consumers who give charitable donations to ensure their donations are used for the intended purpose.”
Attorney General Raoul recommended donors consider the following tips prior to making charitable donations:
- Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much will be used to pay fund-raising costs. Solicitors must give you this information if you ask.
- Pay close attention to the name of the charity. Some fraudulent charities use names that sound or look like those of legitimate organizations to mislead you.
- Ask questions about the charity. Donate only when your questions have been answered and you are certain your money will be used according to your wishes. Ask questions like whether the charity is registered with the Illinois Attorney General’s office and what percentage of the money the charity takes in goes to fundraising, administration and charitable programming.
- Take caution when giving online. Spam email solicitations that appear to be linked to relief groups could be from persons trying to take advantage of those wishing to give to support areas particularly hard hit by natural disasters and international conflicts. Be wary of any solicitations online from unfamiliar charities.
- Do not pay in cash. For security and tax record purposes, pay by check. Be sure to write the full official name, not an abbreviation of the charity on your check.
- Request written information. A legitimate charity will provide you with information outlining its mission, how your donation will be distributed, and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
- Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for cash payment or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation. These are all hallmarks of a scam.
Attorney General Raoul recommended donors keep notes detailing the date and time of a solicitor call, the organization’s name and the name of the solicitor. Raoul also advised donors to try remembering the pitch and any other pertinent information.
Donors can review information about charitable organizations such as income, expenditures and programs on the Attorney General’s website, or report suspicious solicitations by contacting Attorney General Raoul’s Charitable Trust Bureau online or by calling (312) 814-2595.