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Dealing With Charitable Calls
When charities call to ask you for money, it’s OK to say no. Why?
- You can’t be sure who’s on the other end of the line. Scammers often adopt “sound-alike” names so you think you’re dealing with a well-known, reputable charity. You can’t tell from a call where your money will really go.
- Much of your donation may go to fundraising. Charities that call may pay most of what they collect to paid telemarketers. Donating directly to a charity gets more of your dollars to the cause.
- It’s hard to say no. Some charities use high-pressure sales tactics, such as telling you sad stories, to push you to donate. But being able to spin a sad tale doesn’t mean the charity does effective work.
- You’ll be too rushed. Having to make a decision while you’re on the phone doesn’t allow you time to evaluate a charity. Reputable charities accept donations all year long, not just during the holidays.
- You’ll get pestered more often. Some groups sell donors’ information to others.
When someone calls to ask you for money, tell the caller, “I don’t make donations by phone.” Then hang up.
When you give to charities:
- Before you give, decide how much you can really afford. Keep track of your charitable giving so you stay within your budget.
- Target your giving. You can’t help everyone, so consider giving to a few good charities that tackle issues you care about most.
- Get details. Many charities say they provide “help,” but a charity’s literature or site should spell out exactly what its programs are and how it uses donations.
- Check before you give. Contact the Better Business Bureau (216) 241-7678 or Give.org for a report on local groups. Your library can help you check rating sites like CharityWatch.org, CharityNavigator.org or Guidestar.org.
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.