Oregon business owners are known for being socially responsible and giving back to the community. However, this same generosity makes them principal targets for unscrupulous solicitors. In addition to the advice offered in the consumer’s Wise Giving Guide, what follows may help businesses steer clear of sham charities and other pitfalls to make the most of their giving.
This guide is divided into three sections:
ADVERTISING IN NON-PROFIT PUBLICATIONS
As a business owner you may be asked to purchase an advertisement in publications that appear to be sponsored by a non-profit. The vast majority of these appeals are made by professional telephone solicitors, and they are required to disclose this fact to you.
Check the solicitor’s status. If they are working on behalf of a nonprofit organization not only must they tell you that they are a professional fundraiser, they must also be registered as a professional fundraiser with the Attorney General's office. Confirm that a solicitor is properly registered by calling DOJ’s Charitable Activities Section at (971) 673-1880.
Confirm with the organization. If the solicitor claims to be working in conjunction with a local charity or school program, check with the organization and confirm that they are aware of any fundraising being conducted on their behalf. In a significant number of cases, there is no working relationship or the claims of cooperation are exaggerated.
Identify the target audience. Solicitors often imply that placing an advertisement in the publication will be a good use of your advertising dollar. However if the publications are produced and distributed out-of-state and won’t reach your customers, such claims are untrue. As when purchasing any advertising space, understand how the publication will be distributed and who is likely to see it before you make a purchase.
Some other questions you can ask:
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the publication sold or given away?
- Will it be distributed to the public or just other advertisers?
- If it will be distributed through other organizations, have they approved it for distribution to their members?
If you have questions or concerns about a solicitation, please file a complaint online or call DOJ’s Charitable Activities Section at (971) 673-1880.
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