Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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Tips for Charitable Giving

Highlights:

Every year nonprofit organizations play a pivotal role in supporting in educational, religious, artistic, health and welfare services across the country. If you plan to make a charitable donation, make it wisely by heeding some basic advice. For more information about charitable activities in the workplace please refer to Giving Back: Tips for Business Owners.

Do your research. There are more than 1 million charities registered with the IRS. Without a doubt, there is at least one working on the issues that you care about. Compare similar organizations and how they operate by visiting Guide StarCharity Navigator, or Better Business Bureau. Make the most of your donations by giving to groups that use funds as you see fit.

Only give to registered charities. In order to solicit for donations in Oregon, most charitable organizations must be registered with the Oregon Department of Justice. Before you give, check our database or call (971) 673-1880 to confirm that the organization is properly registered.

Make sure your gift is tax-deductible. The government recognizes the value of charitable organizations and most contributions to recognized charities are tax-deductible. However, your donation must be given to a qualified charitable organization. To be certain, visit the IRS website. You must also keep adequate records, so make sure the charity provides written acknowledgment of your donation.

Watch out for imposters. Bogus charities often use names or logos that resemble those of well-established, reputable organizations. Before you respond to a solicitation from an unfamiliar organization, call them to confirm that it exists and is aware of any fundraising efforts on its behalf.

Resist impulse decisions to donate. Telephone and door-to-door solicitations may be earnest requests for your support but be wary of scam artists who want your money fast. No legitimate organization will insist that you donate immediately. Request written materials about the charity and read up to learn more before making a decision.

Be careful with cash donations. Legitimate charities will be pleased to receive a contribution by check. Never send contributions with a "runner," by wire or with an overnight parcel pick-up service. Always make the check payable to the organization and never the individual collecting the donation.

If you don't remember a pledge, you probably didn't make one. Watch out for solicitations that resemble an invoice or come from an unfamiliar organization thanking you for your previous support. Regardless of your giving history, consumers have no obligation to donate.

Reduce the number of solicitations you receive. Under Oregon law, if your number is on the national Do-Not-Call List, charities may not solicit donations over the phone unless you are a past donor or expressed a previous interest in giving. If you want to be removed from as many national mailing lists as possible, sign up for free at www.dmachoice.org and opt out of receiving most junk mail for a period of five years. 

If you have concerns about a solicitation, please file a complaint online or call the Charitable Activities Section at (971) 673-1880.

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