Consumer Tips - Charity Giving

It’s hard to say “no” when someone asks for a charity donation. But sometimes your money doesn’t get to those in need.

Many organizations spend a majority of donations on administrative costs. Others hire fund-raisers who keep most of the money. And con-artists sometimes create fake charities with names that sound similar to legitimate causes.


  • Be wary of overly emotional appeals that tell little of what the charity does to address a particular cause.
  • Don’t give in to high pressure tactics and never give to anyone who wants to immediately come over to pick up your money.
  • Don’t give based only on a phone call. Get all information in writing, including the names and addresses of the charity and the fund-raising company.
  • Call the charity yourself and find out if the campaign is authorized.
  • Ask for the charity’s tax-exempt and non-profit numbers.
  • Never pay cash and be careful about giving a credit card number to an unfamiliar solicitor. Make checks out to the charity and never to the solicitor.
  • Ask for the organization’s annual report. Legitimate charities will gladly send you information showing how much is spent on administration.
  • Ask if a professional fund-raising company is used and, if so, consider sending your donation directly to the charity.
  • Most charities and fund-raisers must register with the state. Contact the Missouri Attorney General’s office or the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.
  • Other sources include the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
About Stan

Stan formed a new company, Trust Stan, LLC, to enable him to continue helping.

He advises businesses on ways to improve customer service, consults television stations on how to successfully operate consumer units and operates a program to continue giving consumers a place to turn.

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Numerous government and private agencies regulate, set standards and/or investigate complaints about businesses and professionals.

They offer a wealth of helpful consumer information and provide places to turn if you are treated improperly.

Consumer Tips

My goal is to make your contacts with businesses more consumer-friendly.

I developed these helpful tips from my personal and professional experiences while helping consumers as a television consumer/investigative reporter.