Charity Donations

Many charities contact you through the mail, over the telephone or at your door to ask for contributions. Most charities are honest, well-run organizations. In some cases, however, dishonest solicitations are conducted. Here are some basic steps you can take to protect yourself.


Steps to Protect Yourself

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  2. Find out the full name of the charity. Don’t be fooled by names that closely resemble the name of a well-known organization. Check out the organization carefully.
  3. If contacted at your home by a solicitor, ask for identification.
  4. Ask if the solicitor is a volunteer or a paid professional fundraiser.
  5. If the charity is using a paid professional fundraiser, the charity will not receive your entire donation. Ask how much of your contribution the charity will receive.
  6. Find out where your money is going and how it will be used.
  7. Do not send cash in the mail and never send contributions to a post office box unless you know the charity.
  8. Never give cash unless you get a receipt right away. If possible, always give your donation by cheque made out in the charity’s name. This will ensure your money is going directly to the charity.
  9. All registered charities issue tax receipts for income tax purposes. Ask if the charity issues a tax receipt and how much of your donation will be receipted.
  10. If you want to support local charities only, ask where the solicitor is calling from and for what purpose the money will be used.
  11. Before paying out money to anyone, you should find out if it is a legitimate solicitation.

Know Your Charity — Warning Signs

  1. Be wary of solicitations that offer little or no information about the charity.
  2. Question offers of free gifts that are sent with the solicitation. Never feel you must donate in return for an unsolicited gift.
  3. Be careful of attempts to get you to donate on the spot. Don’t give in to high pressure tactics.
  4. If you are unsure of a particular solicitation, say no! Contact the charity to determine if they have a fundraising campaign under way. A legitimate charity will need your donation tomorrow as well as today.

For advice on how to protect yourself and your money when responding to charity solicitations, please contact the Consumer Affairs or Government Service Centre Division.