Whether charitable organizations use their employees, volunteers, or professional fundraisers to solicit donations by phone, mail, or in person, consider the following precautions to ensure that your donation dollars benefit the people or organizations you want to help:
Ask how your donation will be used - how much will go to the program you want to support, how much will cover the administrative costs? If a professional fundraiser is used, ask how much it will keep.
Ask for written information - Appeals should clearly identify the charity, its cause, and how it intends to spend money it receives from donations and proof your contribution is tax deductible.
Consider the costs - when buying merchandise or tickets for special events, or receiving free goods in exchange for giving, remember these items cost the charity money and it is paid for out of your donation and therefore less money will be available for the charity.
Don't give cash - it is best to pay by cheque.
Check to see if the charity is registered federally and/or licensed locally. Could include a remark to explain how a charity needs to be registered in order to provide a tax receipt.
Do not be pressured into giving money "on the spot' or allow a courier to pickup your donation. Bona fide charities will welcome the money tomorrow as well as today.
Ask for a solicitor's identification.
Be skeptical if someone thanks for a pledge you don't remember making. Check your records if you have doubts about a pledge you supposedly made.
Call the charity - find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has allowed the use of its name.