Tips for holiday season charitable giving

November 29, 2011 5:11:53 PM PST
Californians dig into their pockets for charity, especially during the holidays, but many of their contributions never end up going to those in need, according to a report from the state attorney general's office.

The state found commercial fundraisers collected nearly $363 million for charities in 2010. But their clients, the actual charities, only received a little more than 44 percent of that money, compared to 42 percent in 2009.

Attorney General Kamala Harris suggests donors should ask where their money goes before they give. The state attorney general's office also suggests the following tips to ensure your donations make it to your desired charity:

  • Ask the solicitor how a donation will be distributed.
  • Ask what percentage of donations will be used to pay for fundraising expenses.
  • Ask if the solicitor works for a commercial fundraiser and is being paid to solicit.
  • Avoid cash donations.
  • Avoid giving credit card information to a telephone solicitor or in response to a telephone solicitation.
  • Learn about a charitable organization, its activities and its fundraising practices before giving.

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