The following information was provided by the Illinois Attorney General.
Some Facts About Police and Firefighter Solicitations
* Some police and firefighter organizations are not charitable but instead are unions or social groups that will not use your donation for charitable purposes.
* Police officers and firefighters never know you contributed.
* Any coercive statement, direct or subtle, that infers that giving is a way to get better protection or special treatment is a crime and should be reported to the respective police department, the State's Attorney and the Attorney General's office.
* Having the words "police" or "firefighter" in an organization's name does not mean police or firefighters are members of the group.
* Paid professional fund-raisers make most of the solicitations for police and firefighter organizations. Professional fund-raisers often charge 80 to 90% of your contribution as a fee.
* "Advertising" in so-called "ad books" will probably not reach the general public, and usually less than 20% of the money you contribute benefits the police, firefighters or community.
* Donations to some police or firefighter groups may not be tax deductible.
Investigate to make sure your donation will be used according to your wishes.
Ask fund-raisers for identification. Illinois law requires paid fund-raisers to identify themselves as such and to name the organization for which they are soliciting.
Find out how your contribution will be distributed. What percentage of your contribution will go to the firefighter or police organization? Will your contribution be used locally? Get written information.
Do not hesitate to call your local police or fire department to verify a fund-raiser's claim that they are soliciting on behalf of their organization. If the claim cannot be verified, report the solicitation to your local law enforcement officials.
Ask if your contribution will be tax-deductible. If you decide to donate, pay by a check made out to the official organization name-do not abbreviate