Law Enforcement Charitable Solicitations: Calling Region

January 13, 2010

When it comes to charitable donations, one thing most experts agree on is that you should educate yourself about the organization making the request so you can give wisely. It does little good to line someone’s pocket with your hard-earned cash if it goes no further than a con man’s pants.

Citizens frequently receive requests for donations from groups affiliated with emergency services – law enforcement, firefighting and the like. While almost all of the organizations are bona fide groups who do worthwhile charity work, it still behooves anyone interested in giving them money to check them out.

One such avenue is the Better Business Bureau which routinely qualifies and rates charitable organizations – assuming the organization provides feedback when it is requested. The website is a good source for information when considering contribution requests.

The giving basics are:

*Don’t give cash. Make out a check to the organization.

*Don’t give in to pressure to make an immediate donation.

*Don’t believe any assurance that you will receive “special treatment” from police or firefighters if you make a donation.

*Ask about the organization’s tax exempt status.

*Ask for printed materials describing the organization, its finances and its charitable activities.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich recently received a letter from a Spokane County resident who requested a receipt for the $20 cash donation he had made to the very official-sounding United States Deputy Sheriff’s Association (

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is not affiliated with this association or any other group that solicits donations from citizens.

The donor assumed that because the group is law enforcement-affiliated and has the name “deputy” in its name, it was somehow connected to the local sheriff’s office.

It is this type of assumption that the Better Business Bureau says you should avoid.