Sheriff's Corner

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By The Staff

Charities were developed to meet certain needs of society that are not part of public assistance.

Unfortunately, some charities that have been developed are not really assisting for the "public good". Charities can solicit funds in many different ways such as raffles, mail or phone solicitation, paper advertisements and ticket sales.

Some of the things that you might want to consider before you contribute to a charity are:

* Avoid giving cash to strangers and take time to learn more about the charitable organization you are contemplating giving to.

* Be assertive with the solicitor, whether in person or over the phone, and tell them that you would like to do some research about the charity.

* Ask where and how your contribution will be used and make your contributions by check.

At least two ordinances govern the laws of charitable organizations and solicitation by Internal Revenue Service Codes. They are 501 C (3) (IRS Code), for non-profit charitable organizations, and 501 C (3) a profit organization working for a non-profit organization.

The definition, as given by the IRS, of a 501 C (3) organization is any religious, educational, charitable, scientific, all testing processes for public safety, National or International Amateur sports competitions, or organizations structured for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.

The meaning of non-profit means that all proceeds or monies raised will go directly to that charitable organization.

The profit organizations may take some of the proceeds or monies gained from any event held for a specific organization and pay the cost incurred such as rental items, ticket sales and catering cost.

A profit organization will be paid for prior to the charity receiving any funding.

Most of all do your homework.

Research the organization and be weary of solicitors that pressure you to sign blank checks or are unwilling to explain where your money is going.

Watch for "tricky" wording on issues that you do not understand.

Please do not let this article prevent you from giving to charity; rather use it as a simple guideline to safeguard yourself from throwing your money away.