Are Your Charitable Dollars Someone Else’s Play Money?


donation-jarIt’s that time of year when charity events are abundant and Donation Bucket’s are at nearly every biker pit stop and bike night.  We all do the very best we can to support well deserving charities.  From building homes for wounded veterans, supporting downed bikers and their families, to women’s and children’s organizations.

Sadly, there are organizations that feel it is more important to protect their name and their spot in the charitable line up, such as “The Wounded Warrior Project” and their decision to sue other veterans charities for the right to a silhouette picture and the words “wounded warrior“, rather than to keep money flowing to the veterans that desperately need it. You can read the whole story here.

There are many ways that charities abuse the funds that we entrust to them. Some pay board members insane salaries.  Such as the “Outlook Foundation” which pays its CEO a whopping $608.000 annually.

There are several ways to check on a charity before you actually write the check or hand over your credit card information.

Be cautious of telemarketers unless you are sure of who you are talking to and have a standing relationship with the charity.  If you are thinking about giving to a specific cause for the first time.  Check their status here on Charity Navigator and always give directly to the charity.  Here are 10 things you as a donor need to do when giving.

The worst offenders are those that funnel off funds before they even make it to the intended charity. How hard is it to slip the  $20.00 hard earned dollars you just dropped in the donation bucket into their own pocket?  Sadly, it is pretty damned easy. While you thought you did something good for your community, your twenty just bought a beer and Taco Bell or a vacation.

Bikers and their organizations shell out millions of dollars annually to help local organizations. It is not just your twenty bucks, it’s a lot of twenty’s and fifty’s and hundreds that get siphoned off from charities that are well deserved, do good work in the communities they serve and struggle for every dollar. Sadly many of these charities may not even know how much may have been taken from their donation buckets at the end of the day when a thief has infiltrated their organization and is actively soliciting donations and in charge of funds that have been collected. It is up to you to make it harder for them to succeed.

Never give large “cash” donations. Use a traceable form of payment.

Ask for an official e-mail receipt directly from the organization.

Use the official websites of the charity to check for current request for fundraising efforts.

Pay via the charity PayPal, Square or other secure on line method. (You do not need an account to pay using these methods.)

Don’t pay by check unless you are mailing it directly to the foundation.

Don’t think that charity fraud can not happen it your community.  Is has happened and it will continue as long as we let it.

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