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DMANF Urges Federal Workers to Continue to Support CFC Charities
Washington, DC, December 15, 2006 – A recent investigation by the General Accounting Office (GAO) and the accompanying media coverage, have thrown a harsh spotlight on the Combined Federal Campaign, a major source of donations to many of America’s charitable organizations.
Commenting on the GAO report, the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation has said it supports efforts to weed out fraudulent and problematic organizations from the roster of CFC participants, but encourages donors not to abandon this important and worthwhile program.
“The contributions from government, postal, and military employees generated by the CFC support more than 20,000 organizations,” said DMANF Executive Director Senny Boone. “It would be a shame to have a few bad actors negatively impact the vitally important work that the rest of these groups do to improve lives and communities across the world.”
DMA encourages anyone concerned about charitable donations to ask questions, and always to blend caution with generosity. The following are some guidelines to help consumers choose wisely when making decisions about charitable donations.
· Ask how your donation will be used. The organization should provide detailed information up front and a contact reference for use after the campaign. Find out what the charity intends to do should any excess contributions remain after they have fully funded the disaster relief activities mentioned.
· Look for financial information about the organization. Organizations should provide you with their annual reports, or Form 990s upon request. For many established organizations, IRS Form 990s are available on-line at www.guidestar.org. For many religious organizations not required to file a Form 990 and for all new organizations, ask them directly how and where their information is currently available.
· Make sure the organization is registered in your state. Your state attorney general's office can tell you if the organization is registered with the state. If you believe fraudulent activity is taking place, please report it immediately to prevent further harm. Contact information for these offices, including links to the respective Web sites, can be found at www.nasconet.org. If your state is not listed, call your attorney general.
· Do not give cash. Legitimate organizations will take a check, and will often accept credit cards as well. Never give cash, especially if the organization offers to pick it up through a courier.
· Know whom you are talking to. If you are contacted by telephone, ask about the caller's relationship to the organization. A legitimate organization may use the services of professional fundraisers, volunteers, and staff, depending on the needs of that particular organization, and will assure that callers readily explain who they are and why they are calling. If you feel there is cause for concern, ask for the callback information and an address.
· Watch out for online "spoofing." If you receive an e-mail request, be cautious when clicking on a link from an e-mail, even if it appears to be sent from a legitimate source. The e-mail may have the logo and even the correct "sent from" source. Furthermore, the site link may even look like the real organization’s link. To avoid confusion, go to the organization's Web site directly. If you are unsure of the Web address, go to your favorite search engine and enter the organization's name. When donating online, make sure that you enter your personal information only on a site that is secured.
· Be cautious of high-pressure tactics. Legitimate organizations are professional and courteous when asking for your support. Be wary of high-pressure tactics, but do not be deterred from aiding this vital relief and reconstruction effort. Should a solicitation from an organization you do not know give you pause, please send your donation to an organization you do know and trust.
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Since 1982, the DMA Nonprofit Federation and its predecessor organizations have been aggressive and effective advocates for nonprofits in postal, regulatory, legislative, and accountability issues. It has led the way in professional education, networking, and industry advancement. The Federation is the premier agent for improving public awareness and receptivity to direct/interactive marketing-driven philanthropy, and is the “top brand” among all associations and advocacy groups working on behalf of nonprofits in this area. With more than 400 members, the DMANF is one of the largest member segments of the Direct Marketing Association.