1. Don’t assume that the words "police" or "firefighter" in an organization's name means your local police force or fire department is involved.
2. Ask for specifics about the programs your donation would support. Appeals are sometimes vague on this point.
3. Don’t be pressured into giving on the spot. Sympathy for the cause is no reason to forgo checking out the charity.
4. Don’t believe the suggestion (it’s illegal) that your donation will give you “special treatment” from police or firefighters.
5. Telemarketing, used by many police and fire organization, can be costly. If solicited by phone, ask for financial information that will enable you to check this out.
6. Don’t assume that your contribution will be tax deductible as a charitable gift. Police and firefighter organizations may be of many types, not all with the same deductibility status.
7. See if the Better Business Bureau in your area has a report about the organization.