By telephone, in person, outside the grocery or department store or through the mail, we all receive numerous appeals to give to a variety of organizations and causes. And for many, the holidays are a time to donate money to those less fortunate.
While it's important to contribute to charitable causes, the decision to give is a personal one. But before you decide, you should take some precautions to make sure that the charity is legitimate. That's because the holidays in particular are a time when con artists are cooking up schemes designed to take advantage of your generosity and giving spirit.
Telling the difference between a legitimate solicitation and a scam isn't always easy. However, some common-sense do's and don'ts will help you avoid a charity scam. For instance, often times you may be asked to donate to a local family in need that may have lost their possessions in a fire or natural disaster. In these cases, a trustee is required to open a trust account in order to solicit donations. If you decide to contribute, it's best to give by check, made payable to the trust fund and not an individual.
Sometimes, you may be asked to give to an organization whose name is very similar to other well-known organizations. Are these organizations the same or somehow related? Or is one totally unrelated to the cause of the other, but just trying to capitalize on another's organization's good name? And what if you've never heard of the organization that's soliciting you for a donation?
You also should know that charitable organizations often will contract with professional fundraisers to solicit on their behalf. If that's the case, then a portion of the contributions collected on behalf of the organization will pay the expenses of the fundraiser. And that will affect the percentage of the organization's funds that directly benefit the program or charity you are giving to.
Here, then, are some guidelines and suggestions to consider before deciding whether to donate to a charity:
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151