A Civic Media radio station

Civic Media Logo
A warning for Wisconsin residents after complaints of more calls requesting cash donations from unknown charities

A warning for Wisconsin residents after complaints of more calls requesting cash donations from unknown charities

Do you really know who is on the other end of that call for your donation? How to be sure the request is legitimate before you give your hard-earned money away

February 29, 2024 4:47 PM CDT

By: Teri Barr

Do you really know who is on the other end of that call for your donation? How to be sure the request is legitimate before you give your hard-earned money away

A warning is issued for Wisconsin residents after a jump in complaints about phone calls and flyers in the mail requesting your cash donations.

“We are hearing about very aggressive callers and mailers,” Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin’s Lisa Schiller says. “And often those being asked to make a donation can’t get an answer about where their money will go.”

“People have also been asking us about organizations with charity-sounding names,” Schiller says. “But some turn out to be political groups, which are tax exempt under IRS section 527, and are actually raising money for political purposes or candidates.”

The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin is warning residents to be sure the donation request is legitimate and the organization is something you want to support before you give your money away.

LISTEN to a quick clip of an interview with BBB Wisconsin’s Lisa Schiller

Schiller also advises, don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially during an active election year.

You can find details about political organizations (PACs), including financial information from the Federal Election Commission.

“The use of the words police, firefighter, veteran, or cancer as part of the organizations name, doesn’t always mean the group asking for your donation is an actual charity supporting these issues,” Schiller says. “The names can make it confusing, and the description can be very vague. Always visit an organization’s website to learn more about who is asking for your money and why.”

The warning to residents includes these tips:

  1. Verify your donation qualifies for a federal income tax deduction. If the organization is not a charity, your contribution will probably not be deductible. 
  2. Pressure to make an immediate donation is a red flag. Real charities will welcome your support at anytime.
  3. Receiving a cold call from a telemarketer can lead to higher costs for the organization. This means less of your donation supports the mission.

Find more information and an evaluation of charities you may be interested in here.

More Articles

image