MADISON (WITI) -- The holiday season is a time of the year when many Wisconsin consumers open their hearts and wallets by donating to charitable causes. Two state agencies are encouraging would-be donors to do their homework before making donations, especially to appeals that are unsolicited and made by phone or over the Internet.
“Resist high-pressure, emotional appeals,” said Sandy Chalmers, Division Administrator of Trade and Consumer Protection for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). “Criminals know that many people make year-end charitable contributions for tax purposes, and they will try to push you into making a quick decision to donate.”
George Althoff, Communications Director for the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), encouraged consumers to do some homework on charities when considering whether to make a donation.
“Before giving to a charity, we encourage consumers to check out how much of the organization’s donations are used for programs and services,” Althoff said. “Well-run charities generally are ones that are spending a higher percentage of their funds raised on programs and services, as opposed to administrative and/or fund-raising costs.”
Financial information about charitable organizations’ level of spending on program activities can be found on the DFI website at www.wdfi.org/CharitableOrganizations, Althoff said.
DATCP and DFI offer up these tips for donors considering a donation to a charitable organization:
For more information or to file a complaint, consumers may contact: