Five new charities make the 5th annual list
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today issued the Attorney General’s 20 Worst Charities list, an annual review of non-profit organizations that spend the majority of their donations on administrative costs and hiring professional fundraisers rather than on the cause they support. All of the charities are based outside of Oregon, but solicit donations in the state. The Firefighters Support Foundation of Massachusetts takes the number one ranking this year, with the organization spending only 6.5 percent of its approximately $3.9 million in annual expenditures to assist firefighters and their families.
A full list of the 20 Worst Charities can be found here.
“There are many Oregon-based charities that do excellent work in our communities,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “Last year, Oregon passed new laws designed to ensure that a charity spends at least 30% of its donations on its charitable mission. As a result, we are starting to see a real impact on the types of charities that are based outside of the state, but solicit in Oregon—and many unscrupulous charities are no longer registering here.”
Five organizations not previously in the “top 20” are included on this year’s list. The organizations include: Veterans Support Foundation (Silver Spring, MD), National Cancer Assistance Foundation (Sarasota, FL), Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. (Madeira Beach, FL), Car Donation Foundation d/b/a Wheels for Wishes (St. Louis Park, MN), Cancer Support Services, Inc. (Dearborn, MI).
Many of the organizations on this year’s list exemplify warning signs that Oregonians should watch for in evaluating charitable solicitations. Consumers should watch for warning signs such as organizations with names that are similar to –but not the same as–other well-known and reputable charities, or charities that use emotionally appealing—but vague—descriptions of the charities’ activities.
Tips for savvy Oregon donors:
- Only give to registered charities. Before you give, confirm that the charity is registered in Oregon. Copies of full financial reports for registered charities can be obtained by calling the Oregon Department of Justice at 971-673-1880.
- Say ‘no’ to pressure. Do not respond to a telephone call or mailing from an unfamiliar organization. Take the time to identify and research what causes matter to you, and which charities are doing work in those areas.
- Never wire money or give cash donations. Instead, contribute by check or credit card.
- Watch out for imposters. Many charities will try to make you think they are that other, more reputable charity with a similar sounding name.
- Reduce the number of solicitations you receive. Include a note with your donation asking that your charity will not rent, sell or exchange your name with anyone else.
- Do not fall for scams. Watch for solicitations that look like an invoice or mail from an unfamiliar organization that thanks you for your previous support. (More than likely, you did not give previously!)
- Be proactive. Seek out organizations that you believe in and donate to regularly.
More tips on charitable giving can be found here.
Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002