Giving to charity can be rewarding. However, make sure that your charitable dollars are being used for your intended purpose.
To protect consumers and ensure that donations are used for the intended purpose, State law requires that most charitable organizations register with the Arkansas Secretary of State prior to soliciting donations. The organization must provide financial information regarding the use of charitable dollars. Registration information is available on the Arkansas Secretary of State's website.
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 will not 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.
- Do not 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 do not 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.