Please!!! Don't Abuse The Animals

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I credit American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) for this page. I got this information from their site, and it is use with their permission.

If you know of or are suspicious of anyone involved in animal abuse, you should report it immediately to the proper authorities.

As charities face inflation, government budget cuts and an increasing public demand for services, they ask you for more donations. Increasing numbers of charities use high-tech fund raising techniques. Mailboxes overflow with fund-raising appeals. Phone calls pour in from high-pressure solicitors. All this can leave you confused about which charities are most deserving of your contributions.

Most charities are honest and accountable to their donors. Unfortunately, a few are not. AIP suggests the following pointers to help you give more effectively.

Tips for Giving Wisely

1. Know your charity.

Charities have an obligation to provide detailed information to interested donors. Never give to a charity you know nothing about. Request written literature and a copy of the charities latest annual report. This should include a list of the board of directors, a mission statement and the most recent available audited financial statements with accompanying notes.

If a charity does not provide you with the information you request, you may want to think twice about giving to it. Honest charities typically encourage your interest and respond to your questions.

2. Find out where your dollars go.

Ask how much of your donation goes for general administration and expenses and how much is left for the program services you want to support. AIP's Charity Rating Guide recommends that in most cases 60% or more of your charitable donation should go to program services. Less than 40% should be spent on general administration and fund raising costs. Keep in mind that newer groups and those that are working on less popular issues may find it necessary to spend a greater percentage on and administrative costs than well-established, popular groups.

Attempt to seek more information about charities that identify as ?public education? large portions of their direct mail and telemarketing expenses. This may be done in some cases to disguise high fund raising costs.

It is difficult to find out the real percentage of donor dollars spent on program services due to the inconsistent quality of charitable self-reporting. But you can ask the charities representative for specific information, such as how many individuals were served annually or what were the major program accomplishments during the past year.

3. Do not respond to pressure.

Do not let yourself be pressured into contributing on the spot. If you are not familiar with a charity, request additional information in writing. Inspect it carefully and write a check if you decide to donate. You have a right to say no. No legitimate organization will pressure you to give immediately.

4. Keep records of your donations.

Do not give cash. Also, do not give your credit card number to a telephone solicitor you do not know. Give your gift by check or money order so you will have a record for tax purposes. The IRS requires that you obtain a receipt from the charity (a canceled check will not suffice) for all tax-deductible contributions of $250 or more.

5. Remember: ?tax exempt? does not always mean ?tax deductible.?

Not all charities soliciting for ?good causes? are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. ?Tax exempt? means the organization does not have to pay taxes. ?Tax deductible? means the donor can deduct contributions to the charity on his or her federal income tax return. Request the charities tax exempt letter. If the charity does not have a tax exempt letter indicating its status with the IRS, you cannot legitimately claim your contribution as a tax deduction.

6. Do not be misled by a charities familiar name.

Some questionable charities use an impressive name which closely resembles the name of a respected, legitimate organization. Ask for information in writing. Check out the charity with AIP or other watchdogs or check with your state charity registration office before making a contribution.

7. Do not be enticed by emotional appeals.

Beware the pathetic ?sob story.? The hard-luck appeal is a favorite of some organizations. Question phone solicitors or direct mail appeals which tell you nothing of the charity or offer vague explanations for spending your charitable dollars.

8. Ask if the charity is registered by federal, state and/or local authorities.

Nearly all non-church charities with more than $25,000 per year in income must file annually with the IRS. Currently 36 states require that charities register annually. Bear in mind that registration in and of itself is not a stamp of government approval or endorsement of the charity.

9. Beware of charities offering gifts.

Direct mail solicitations are often accompanied by greeting cards, address stickers, calendars, key rings or other ?gifts.? Charities do this because it can increase donations. But do not feel that you have to make a contribution to keep these ?gifts.? It is against the law for a charity to demand payment for any unordered merchandise. Beware that these enclosed items can mean higher fund raising costs for the organization.

10. Consider giving generously.

Once you are satisfied that the charity is worthwhile, give generously if you can. There are many good charities that need your help to operate valuable programs and provide needed services. When you give wisely, you will be giving more effectively.


American Humane Association
Phone 303-792-9900

Animal Protection Institute of America
Phone 916-447-3085

Animal Welfare Institute
Phone 202-337-2332

Delta Society
Phone 800-869-6898

Friends of Animals
Phone 203-656-1522

Humane Farming Association
Phone 415-485-1495

Jane Goodall Institute
Phone 301-565-0086

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Phone 757-622-7382

The information above is based on the American Institute of Philanthropy. For more information go to:
American Institute of Philanthropy

The charity I give to locally is my Humane Society. Their web site is located at:
Humane Society of Tuscola County


[ About Author | Missy's Story | Digby's Story | Joey's Story ]

[ Morkey's Story | Snow Ball's Story | Mid Night's Story | Frosty's Story ]
[ Fluffy's Story | Cuddles Story | Lucky's Story | Pet Memorial ]
[ Types of Abuse | Prevention | Rights & Welfare | Spay & Neuter ]

[ Questionnaire | Puppy Mills | Cat Care | Dog Care | Dog Training ]

[ Pests to Pets | Charities | Moments in Life | Web Site Journal ]

[ Favorite Links | Link to Me! | Legal Info | Contact Me! | GuestBook ]

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All Material is Written by Anita Eberline
No part may be reproduced without prior permission by Anita Eberline.