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PNS Daily Newscast - December 12, 2018 


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Where Not to Put Your Money When You Want to Help

PHOTO: "Kids Don't Go with Strangers" is a campaign by the Law Enforcement Education Program, a group that topped this year's "20 Worst Charities" list by the Oregon Attorney General. It says LEEP spends less than 3 percent of donations on its stated mission. Image from LEEPusa.com.
PHOTO: "Kids Don't Go with Strangers" is a campaign by the Law Enforcement Education Program, a group that topped this year's "20 Worst Charities" list by the Oregon Attorney General. It says LEEP spends less than 3 percent of donations on its stated mission. Image from LEEPusa.com.
December 24, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Who's been naughty - or at least, could be nicer - in the world of charitable solicitations? The Oregon Attorney General keeps a list. Groups on the "20 Worst Charities" list spend less than one in four of the donation dollars they receive on their charitable causes.

For some of the groups, this year isn't their first time on the annual list. For instance, Oregon Department of Justice communications director Jeff Manning says, the group that tops this year's tally was number three on last year's list.

"That's the Law Enforcement Education Program, which spent a grand total of 2.7 percent of its total average expenditures on its actual charitable purpose."

Manning says being on the list doesn't mean an organization is running a scam, but it does mean that 75 percent or more of the donation dollars it receives go to salaries, fundraising and administrative costs, rather than to the cause for which it says it's collecting money.

Others on the list include the Foundation for American Veterans, Disabled Police Officers of America, and the American Medical Research Organization.

Although New Mexico has fewer than 500 charities, it's important to know about the places where you give money. If some groups' names seem vaguely familiar, Manning says that's intentional. Sounding like a well-known nonprofit makes it easier to persuade people to donate. They're also good at tugging at heartstrings, he adds.

"They tend to pick some sort of cause - be it veterans, children or first responders - angles that have a broad emotional appeal. And they sound legit; they do a great job sounding like they're doing a great thing."

The Oregon AG keeps an online database where anyone can check out how much a group raises and spends. Manning says your donation will go farther if it's made to an organization that spends at least 65 percent of its money on its charitable purpose. Other online resources for checking out charities include www.CharityNavigator.org and www.GuideStar.org, as well as the Better Business Bureau.

The full list is available at www.doj.state.or.us.

Renee Blake, Public News Service - NM