Letter: Beware of some charities

Oct. 22, 2013 @ 11:21 PM

Editor,

Beware, the money or time you are giving to a charity may not be going for the purpose of the charity.

Chances are the money will be used for expenses for the so-called owners of the charity who control the organization.

A lot of charities are not registered with the state as required by the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming. In addition to being a tax-free corporation, the state also requires the charities to file an annual financial statement.

Some charities pay out as little as one percent of their income to the cause of the charity. Some charities have a corporation to solicit money thereby avoiding the state filing on the real cost of the charity.

Most likely the first $100,000 collected could go toward salaries and expenses of some local charities. Many people volunteer to work for a charity when all they are doing is helping the charity collect money that goes to the manager and staff.

Nationwide some charity presidents are paid close to $2 million a year as salary. Charity Watch reports that the president of the American Red Cross makes $951,957 as salary plus expenses.

TV news recently reported that a disaster charity to date has never given a dime to the victims. Never give money to a charity you never heard of until a disaster happens.

When the charity is national, the money could go out of state or out of the country to headquarters.

Before you donate ask for income, expenses and financial statements. If the charity is registered with the state, you should get one. If the charity is national ask for local financial statements. Most charities use the media to raise money, with the media unaware of how the money is used. Some obtain news coverage under misleading names and do not state the name of the real charity.

Another problem is the businesses that let charities collect money in front of their stores. Some are legit, some are not. Recently one charity that collected money at a local business in Pigeon Forge had been banned for 15 years in South Carolina for not funding any charity purposes. Another gave less than one percent to charity purposes and has been named the second worst charity in the U.S. Another never registered with the state.

Another problem is businesses asking for $1 at the cash register. Most of these are national charities, and the businesses never knowing how the money is used or where it’s going.

The best solution is to give directly to the local charity that actually uses the money and not those who collect on behalf of others. Otherwise your money could be wasted.

If a charity disagrees with this, just send me your income and expense reports and financial statements.

Check out charities on charitywatch.org or charitynavigator.org or search the internet.

There are good local charities worthy of your time and money, which we donate to, such as Smoky Mountain Children’s Home, Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army, etc.

Just check them out and beware.

Tony Rast

Pigeon Forge