BBB Urges Caution when Donating to Door-to-Door Companies Soliciting on Behalf of Veterans

  
     
May 15, 2017

Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is advising consumers to use caution if solicited by Professional Fundraising Association LLC.  BBB has received reports from Nebraska residents that this company is going door-to-door allegedly raising funds for veterans and active soldiers.

According to the BBB of Northeast Florida and The Southeast Atlantic, “the head of Professional Fundraising Association, located in Brooklet, GA, has ties to several businesses whose fundraising efforts on behalf of veterans have come under criticism by BBB and law enforcement authorities.”  Additionally, Professional Fundraising Association is not a charity and has an “F” rating with the BBB.  Locally, it does not have a Peddler’s Permit which is required for for-profit door-to-door solicitation companies in many Nebraska communities.

BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty said, “Just because the solicitor claims they are collecting money for veterans' causes, doesn't mean the funds are really going there. Charity fraud varies from outright scams to a misrepresentation of how much of a donation actually goes to help veterans. Be sure that your donation ends up helping veterans by following these tips from BBB Wise Giving Alliance.” 

How to Protect Yourself from Veterans Charity Scams: 

  • Mistaken Identity: Watch out for name confusion. Many veterans’ charities include virtually the same words in a different order or slightly different form.
  • Is a Peddler’s Permit required? Verify with your local city offices to see if for-profit soliciting groups are required to have a Peddler’s Permit. Charities usually do not need one.
  • Check for identification: All door-to-door solicitors should have an ID badge. If not, report this by calling the non-emergency police number in your city. 
  • Program Descriptions: Look for a clear description of the organization's programs in its appeals and website. If it says it is helping veterans, does it explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling), and where it is doing so?
  • Telemarketing Cautions: Telemarketing can be a costly method of fund raising unless carefully managed. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity's programs and finances.
  • On-the-Spot Donation Decisions: Be wary of excessive pressure in fund raising.  Don't be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation.  Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.
  • Donating Used Clothing and Other Goods?  Find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts.  Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion of the resale price of the item or may have a contractual arrangement to get a flat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.
  • Check with Outside Sources before Giving:  Visit BBB Wise Giving Alliance’ atgive.org to access reports that summarize rigorous evaluations in relation to 20 holistic BBB Charity Standards that address governance, results reporting, finances and appeal accuracy. Also, you can find a list of Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website and information about Military Service Organizations (MSO) at the U.S. Military Community Information and Outreach website.

ABOUT BBB: Better Business Bureau has been assisting U.S consumers and businesses since 1912. It is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing trust in the marketplace. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. Today, BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is supported by approximately 10,000 Accredited Businesses that have voluntarily committed to adhere to BBB’s Standards of Trust.