CONSUMER NEWS
                                Charitable Solicitations
                                                                                             December 2010

Throughout the year and during                 80% law enforcement               charitable purpose and
the holidays, we are all asked by              personnel.                        how much of the donation
various groups to donate money                Soliciting donations on           he/she is paid . Ask for
for charitable purposes. This                  behalf of a charity and           documentary proof.
                                               failing to turn that money       Consult the Better
newsletter provides some
                                               over to the charity.              Business Bureau’s website
guidelines for making these                                                      that reports on hundreds of
donations.                            The City Attorney’s Consumer               charities at
                                      Protection Unit takes complaints 
LAWS:                                 from members of the public who             arity
                                      observe these violations and, if          Check the Cal. Attorney
Unfortunately, there are few          there is sufficient evidence,              General’s Charitable Trust
criminal laws that regulate the       prosecutes the violators.                  Registry to determine
activities of individuals and                                                    whether the charity and
businesses who solicit for                                                       the solicitor have
charitable purposes. The following                                               complied with the
are crimes:                                                                      requirement that they
                                      Probably the most important factor         register and file financial
       Soliciting money for          for individuals giving charitable          disclosure documents:
        charity and willfully and     donations is the percentage of the
        knowingly making an           donation that goes to the charitable      If the solicitation is for a
        unqualified false statement   purpose (as opposed to overhead            group claiming to have a
        about the purpose of the      costs). In addition, donors want to        law enforcement
        organization, the cost and    make sure the solicitor is in fact         connection, contact the
        expenses of the               authorized to collect the money on         law enforcement agency
        solicitation, or how the      behalf of the charity.                     to determine if the
        money will be used.                                                      solicitation is authorized.
       Designating a                 There are several ways to                 If the group indicates your
        nongovernmental               determine how much of your                 donation is tax-deductible,
        organization by a name        donation actually goes to the              check with the Internal
        including the terms “peace    charitable purpose:                        Revenue Service to
        officer,” “police,” or “law                                              determine whether the
        enforcement,” when the                Ask the solicitor how             charity is qualified to offer
        organization’s voting                  much money goes to the            this deduction,
        members are less than

                       SERVING CONSUMERS AND PROTECTING COMMERCE           with a unique matching
         cle/0,,id=96136,00.html              identifier.
                                             Winners of prizes must be
                                              determined by a drawing
                                              of the stubs.
People who engage in charity                 The drawing must be done
solicitation fraud try to give donors         under the supervision of a
little time to think or to check out          person 18 years old or
the legitimacy of the charity.                older.
Donors should avoid giving money             At least 90% of the gross
to a charitable solicitor who does            receipts from the sale of
any of the following:                         the raffle tickets must be
                                              used by the organization
        Rushes you to make a                 conducting the raffle to
         donation. For example, a             benefit the organization or
         solicitor calls and wants to         charitable purposes.
         pick up a check in person
         rather than allowing you       Charities that are registered with
         to mail it in.                 the Cal. Attorney General’s Office
        Insists on cash donations      who operate a raffle must inform
         or a check payable to an       the Attorney General of the raffle.
         individual instead of the
        Sends phony invoices to                 San Diego
         people who have not               City Attorney’s Office
         agreed to make a               Consumer and Environmental
         donation.                            Protection Unit
        Asks for your credit card             (619) 533-5600
         number when he/she calls
         you for a donation.
        Promises you favorable         Newsletter written by Assistant
         treatment by law               City Attorney Tricia Pummill
         enforcement if you donate
         or indicates you will not      Sources: Penal Code sections
         receive emergency              532d, 146c, 320.5 and 506.
         services if you fail to        Business and Professions Code
         donate.                        sections 17510 et. seq. California
        Refuses to provide any         Attorney General’s Office and
         written information about      Internal Revenue Service websites.
         how donations are spent.
                                        The information provided in this
RAFFLES:                                newsletter is intended to convey
                                        general information and is not
Charities often raise money by          intended to be relied upon as legal
conducting raffles. A raffle is a       advice.
game where people pay for a ticket
for a chance to win a prize. A          To report violations of consumer
person must pay for a ticket to be      protection laws, call the City
entered in the raffle. Local groups     Attorney’s Hotline at (619) 533-
that run raffles as fundraisers must    5600.
comply with the following

     Each ticket must come
      with a detachable stub and
      both parts must be marked


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