SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Donations to charities are set to increase during the holiday season. There are some groups looking to take advantage or people’s generosity. Utah Division of Consumer Protection urges people to research a charity before they decide to give.
Any charity soliciting donations is required to register with the state, and turn over certain information. Including how much of a donation actually goes to the cause.
Daniel O’Bannon is the Director of the Division of Consumer Protection. He notes even though people may call or stop you doesn’t mean you can’t do research before giving.
“Someone may call you or come up to you and say will you give,” said O’Bannon. “You might feel a little pressure, but find out about them first. Make sure you’re getting the money where you want to.”
The DCP’s website allows people to look up a charity that ask for donations from Utah residents.
O’Bannon points out social media has created a good path for donations, but increased the need for people to do their research.
“It’s so easy to put up a fake name, a fake address, a fake phone number to make it so people can’t really follow up including potentially us,” said O’Bannon.
He points out while people should do their research there are thousands of reputable charities out there.
The Utah Food Bank for example puts 96 cents of every dollar donated towards it’s cause. Like many charities rely on the holidays for a large portion of their donations.
Unlike some non profits there are third parties holding fundraisers and food drives for their benefit. Chief Development officer Ginette Bott said it helps with their efforts around the state.
In the past their have been some cases of groups using the food bank’s name to take advantage of generous people. Bott said legitimate groups will already be working with the food bank, and people can check if they have doubts.
“Folks that are doing food drives, for us and on our behalf most will usually go through a process with us internally and register on our online website,” said Bott.
Consumer advocates note while Utahns are some of the most giving people in the country. They should do a little research to make sure they aren’t being taken advantage of.