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Maine.gov > PFR Home > Professional Licensing > List of Professions > Charitable Solicitations > Publications
Charitable Solicitations - Publications
Ten Tips For Making Smart Donations
The State of Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, has compiled a list of tips to assist the public in making wise donations. By carefully scrutinizing paid solicitation campaigns, contributors can help discourage fraud and encourage charities to make efficient use of limited contributions. The following suggestions should enhance a contributor’s ability to make effective contributions:
1. ASK THE INDIVIDUAL SOLICITING CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SOME IDENTIFICATION BEFORE GIVING OUT ANY INFORMATION. By law, paid solicitors must tell you:
2. ASK FOR PRINTED MATERIALS FROM THE CHARITY. Such materials should provide: (1) the name, address and telephone number of the charity; and (2) a description of how and where charitable funds will be used.
3. ASK WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR CONTRIBUTION ACTUALLY WOULD GO TO THE CHARITY. It might be surprisingly little. According to Maine law, professional fund-raisers and the charities for which they solicit are required to file an Annual Fundraising Activity Report, which is available at this website under "About this Program - Publications."
4. BEWARE OF HIGH PRESSURE SALES TACTICS AND ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR BY PROFESSIONAL FUND RAISERS. No legitimate professional fund raiser will refuse to take the time to explain the purpose of fundraising and the objectives of the charity in a courteous matter. If you encounter an abusive solicitation, please contact your local law enforcement agency an/or file a complaint with this office.
5. KEEP RECORDS OF ALL DONATIONS, INCLUDING RECEIPTS AND CANCELED CHECKS. This information is especially important for tax deduction purposes and in case you have a complaint in the future.
6. BEWARE OF PROFESSIONAL FUND RAISERS "SOLICITING" FOR ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE DECEPTIVELY SIMILAR NAMES TO LEGITIMATE CHARITIES. Many for-profit organizations style their names after charitable organizations. Don’t be deceived by these copy-cat businesses whose titles may differ by as little as terms like "association," "federation," "national," "American," "incorporated" and "foundation." Ask for more information and contact your local law enforcement agency if you are unsure of the legitimacy of any campaigns.
7. DON'T PAY BY CASH UNLESS YOU KNOW THE PERSON MAKING THE COLLECTION, AND NEVER GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER OVER THE PHONE. When making any donations, simply make a check out to the charity itself, not to the paid professional fund raiser, and use the charity’s full name. That way you have a record of the contribution, and the money goes directly to the charity.
8. CALL THE BENEFICIARIES OF THE CHARITABLE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN AND ASK IF THEY AUTHORIZED THE SOLICITATION. If the charities are unaware of the solicitation campaign, please contact your local law enforcement agency or the Attorney General's Office immediately.
9. DON’T BE IMPRESSED BY THANK-YOU GIFTS. Although permissible, these represent an expense to the charity, which diverts money from its charitable purpose.
10. VERIFY ALL INFORMATION. All charities and paid solicitors are required to become licensed with the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation prior to solicitation. If you have any questions or problems, write to the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 35 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333, call (207) 624-8624, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: August 9, 2012
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