Your Rights as a Consumer
To Obtain Information About Charitable Organizations
Consumers have the right to know basic information about charitable organizations that will allow them to make better, more-informed charitable giving decisions. This information includes:
- the official name of the charitable organization and its principal place of business;
- the organization’s registration status with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations;
- an accurate description of the organization’s charitable purpose;
- how the organization intends to use donated resources; and
- financial information, such as:
- the organization’s financial statements and IRS Form 990 returns that explain how donated resources were used for a given fiscal year.
To Obtain Information Regarding Professional Solicitors
In addition to volunteers who solicit contributions, many charitable organizations hire professional solicitors to raise funds to accomplish their charitable purposes. All compensated solicitors are required to register with the bureau. When professional solicitors contact consumers for donations, they must volunteer the following information:
- the professional solicitor’s name as it is filed with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations;
- the name and address of the charity for which they are soliciting; and
- the charitable purpose of the organization for which they are soliciting.
When Dealing with Solicitors, Consumers also have the right to:
- ask questions regarding the organization’s operations and accomplishments, and to receive information that is presented fairly and truthfully;
- ask questions regarding the solicitor's relationship with the organization. For example, if you are contacted by a professional solicitor, ask what percentage of funds raised by the solicitor actually reaches the charity. A charity’s contract with a professional solicitor must set forth the amount the professional solicitor is paid and the amount that goes to the charity; and
- request their names be removed from any contact lists maintained by a solicitor or the organization for which they are soliciting.