In today's world you have to research who you want to donate money to - similar to the research you do prior to making a major purchase. Not all charities use the majority of the money donated to actually assist the cause they purport to help. Some charities use the majority of the fund collected for "administrative costs."
All charitable organizations that either solicit contributions from Maryland residents or are located in Maryland are required to register with the Office of the Secretary of State (SOS) if:
· they collect more than $25,000 in direct public support or
· engage the services of a professional solicitor to raise funds for the organization
To confirm that a charity is registered with the state, call the Maryland SOS at 1-800-825-4510 or visit their webpage. Check an organization’s financial disclosure to see what percentage of its funds go to salaries/administration costs. You can get information on a charitable organization by contacting BBB Wise Giving Alliance, 4200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203, T: 703-276-0100; the American Institute of Philanthropy, 3450 Lake Shore Drive, Suite 2802 E, Chicago, IL 60657, T: 773-529-2300; or GuideStar, 4801 Courthouse Street, Suite 220, Williamsburg, VA, 23118,
Know the difference between “tax exempt” and “tax deductible.” Tax exempt means the organization does not have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means you can deduct your contribution on your federal income tax return. Even if an organization is tax exempt, your contribution may not be tax deductible. If a tax deduction is important to you, ask for a receipt showing the amount of your contribution and stating that it is tax deductible. Consult a tax advisor if you need additional assistance.