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IMPORTANT info ration about giving to charity.....SAVE THIS

From: Andrea B.
Sent on: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 11:39 PM

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

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Giving to Charity

With the holiday season upon us, many of us may experience an increase in the amount of charitable solicitations that we receive. People are likely to be at their most generous and giving during the holidays. With so many options, choosing a charitable organization to support is an important decision. If you plan on making a contribution to a charity, research the organization before you give. Not only will you learn more about the organization's cause and impact, but you will also avoid fraudulent individuals who try to take advantage of your compassion and generosity. When giving this holiday season, remember to use your head, as well as your heart, by following these important tips:

Know how your dollars are being spent

Most charities soliciting within the state of Florida are required to register and file financial information with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The department maintains the Gift Givers' Guide; a one-stop guide to charitable giving that provides the financial data for charities registered with the department. It is up to the charitable organization to decide how to use their donations, so it's important to research the percentage of your donation that goes towards administrative expenses, fundraising expenses, and how much is left for the program services you want to support.

Ask questions

  • Who is the fundraiser and who benefits from the donation?
  • How much of the contribution goes to the charity mentioned in the request?
  • How much of the donation goes towards administrative and fundraising expenses?
  • Is the donation tax-deductible, and can you get a receipt? (Remember, donations to a tax-exempt organization are not always tax-deductible.)

Never send cash donations

For security and tax purposes, pay by check when sending a donation by mail. Make the check payable to the charity's official name to ensure it can only be deposited by the intended recipient.

Join the Do Not Call List

Effective July 1, 2013, a telephone solicitor may not call a donor who has previously communicated to the telephone solicitor that he or she does not wish to receive calls. Solicitors are required to maintain a list of donors who have made a do not call request. It is a violation for an organization to call a donor who has asked to be placed on the solicitor's do not call list.

For additional information, to verify if a charity is registered or to access our "Gift Givers' Guide," please visit or call 1-800-HELP-FLA [masked]) within Florida, 1-800-FL-AYUDA [masked]) en Español, or (850)[masked] from outside Florida. As always, an educated consumer is the best defense against fraud and deception!

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