Donor education campaign offers advice

Operation Donate with Honor is a new nationwide donor education campaign to help donors pot and avoid fundraising solicitations that offer false promises that donations will help veterans and service members.

The campaign, which Alaska is participating in, is being released in conjunction with announcements of new and recent law enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission and many states.

“Our veterans have given so much for us and our country,” said Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth. “Many of us want to show our appreciation by giving back to them. Unfortunately, there are those who take advantage of this generosity to line their own pockets. That’s why we all need to be vigilant before we hand our money over.”

Operation Donate with Honor was developed by the FTC and the National Association of State Charity Officials, the association of state offices charged with oversight of charitable organizations and charitable solicitations in the United States. The initiative pairs enforcement actions with an education campaign, in English and Spanish, to help consumers recognize charitable solicitation fraud and identify legitimate charities.

The new video, https://vimeo.com/280443731, highlights tips on how to research charities on giving wisely to veterans’ organizations.

The Alaska Attorney General’s Office advises donors to ask for the charity’s name, website and physical location and how much of any donation goes to the charitable program itself.

Check whether the charity is registered in Alaska at http://www.law.alaska.gov/department/civil/consumer/charities_list.html

Also search the charity’s name online with the word “scam” or “complaint” to see what others say; check the charity’s rating at the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch or Charity Navigator websites; never pay with cash, a gift card or by wiring money; and consider paying by credit card, which is the safest option for security and tax purposes.

Before giving to a charity, read the Department of Law’s advice on wise giving at http://www.law.alaska.gov/department/civil/consumer/charities.html. Donors and business owners can also find information to help them donate wisely and make their donations count at FTC.gov/Charity. Consumers may file complaints to the Alaska Department of Law, Consumer Protection Unit. Instructions on filing consumer complaints are located at http://www.law.alaska.gov/department/civil/consumer/cp_complaint.html.