Check your charity before your give
Published 2:00 pm Thursday, November 30, 2023
As charitable giving surges throughout the Christmas holiday, knowing where your donated money is going and how it is being used is important.
The 2023 Report on Charitable Organizations, published by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, lists thousands of charities, as well as each one’s revenue and expenses, and what percentage of its expenses are for charitable purposes.
“Mississippians continue to be some of the most charitable individuals in the country,” said Secretary of State Michael Watson. “Checking your charity helps ensure your hard-earned donations advance the core charitable purpose or mission of the organizations you support. Disclosure of charitable revenue and spending exposes unscrupulous groups who might prey upon the generosity of our citizens by lining their pockets under the guise of selfless motives. Additionally, transparency in financial reporting promotes the good work of credible organizations who are responsible stewards of your time and contributions.”
When asked to donate to a charity, always ask how much of every dollar raised actually goes to the charity, or is used for charitable purposes. Never be afraid to ask for information in writing. State laws require charity telemarketers to provide the information within 14 days of your request.
The SOS office suggests donors: check your charity; avoid pressure tactics; watch for same or similar names of organizations; be wary of telephone calls; verify mail solicitations; always get receipts; and volunteer cautiously.
“The Council of Better Business Bureaus recommends at least 65 percent of a charity’s total revenue be spent on program activities directly related to the organization’s purposes,” Watson said. “Keep up the great work, Mississippi. Your generosity never ceases to amaze me.”
If you have doubts, call the Secretary of State’s Office at 601-359-1350 or 888-236-6167.