Checking out charities

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The demands to support charities and non-profit organizations are many. Some requests are legitimate but others are not. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of a charity, non-profit organization or fund raising, satisfy your concerns before you make a contribution. Ask questions. You are not wasting a canvasser's or telephone solicitor's time. A legitimate organization will spend the time with you.

Ask:

  • For the canvasser's or telephone solicitor's name, whether they are employed by a professional fundraiser and the name and address of the professional fund raiser.
  • About the charity or non-profit organization. Where is it located? What is its address and telephone number? What does it do and where does it operate or carry on business? Who sits on its board of directors? When was it established and how long has it been operation?
  • Where the money is going. What percentage of the contribution will actually be received by the charity or non-profit organization?
  • If your contribution can be claimed for an income tax donation credit. If so, what is the organization's Revenue Canada registration number.

Check:

  • What you're told by the canvasser or telephone solicitor with the charity or non-profit organization with the Better Business Bureau.
  • If the organization is registered with Revenue Canada (1-800-267-2384) and its registration number.
  • The canvassing organization's reputation and the reputation of the charity or non-profit organization with the Better Business Bureau.
  • If the organization is on file with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (in the Greater Toronto Area (416) 326-1963, outside GTA 1-800-366-0335, ext. 6-1963).

Doubts?

  • Ask the canvasser or telephone solicitor to put the request in writing, or call you in several days. You can then make inquiries and make a decision.

When in doubt, check it out. Remember. It's your money.

The above material was prepared for the use of citizens considering a charitable donation by the Office of the Public Guardian & Trustee, Charitable Property Division, 558 Yonge St, 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1Z1. Reprinted with permission. For more information, call (416) 326-1963, or Fax: (416) 326-1969.

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