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Giving to charity can be rewarding. However, you should make sure that your charitable dollars are being used for your intended purpose.
To protect consumers and to ensure that donations are used for the intended purpose, State law requires that most charitable organizations register with the Attorney General’s Office prior to soliciting donations. The organization must provide financial information regarding the use of charitable dollars. Registration information is available on our website. Information about charitable financial reports is available to consumers by contacting the Charities Division of the Consumer Protection Division.
Before You Give
- Be an Informed Giver. Ask questions before you give. Give only when you feel comfortable that your donation will support an organization and activities in which you believe. Refuse high-pressure appeals. Legitimate charities won’t rush you to donate.
- Ask for written information. A legitimate charity will send you information before you donate. Ask for information on the organization’s mission, how your donation will be used, and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
- Call the charity. To avoid falling victim to sham solicitors, contact the charity directly before giving a donation by email, to the person knocking at your front door, or to the telephone solicitor.
- Never give or pledge in response to a telephone solicitation until you have independently checked on the charity, or you know the caller on a first-name basis.
- Watch out for similar sounding names. Scam artists often try to take advantage of names that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate charities.
- Don’t send cash. For your security and tax records, make your donation by check or credit card.
- Be wary of a group that offers to pick up your monetary donation. A legitimate charity will have an official address where you can mail your donation. Be wary if an organization thanks you for a pledge you don’t remember making and offers to send someone to pick up your donation.
- Scrutinize fundraising appeals for police, firefighters, and veterans. Solicitations on behalf of these types of causes often draw favorable responses from donors. Because of this, scam artists often use the word “police” or “firefighter,” even when the donations will not be used to support such causes.
- Search the Arkansas Charities Database. In addition, the Charities Division of the Consumer Protection Division can provide information about the purpose of a charity, the amount of money a charity has raised in the past, the percentage of money collected that is used for charitable program services, the percentage that is used for administrative costs, and whether the charity employs the services of a professional fundraiser.
When it comes to your charitable giving, we’ve got your back, Arkansas.