Secretary of State Mark Hammond announced today the release of his office’s 2020-2021 Wise Giving Report and the 2021 Give Smart Watch List, in conjunction with International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW). “I am pleased to join my fellow charity regulators and members of the nonprofit sector in raising donor awareness about charity fraud,” said Secretary Hammond. “I hope that this year’s Wise Giving Report and Give Smart Watch List will encourage South Carolinians to use the tools offered by our office to make wise giving decisions.”
ICFAW, which runs from October 18 to 22, 2021, is a collaborative education and social media campaign to highlight charitable solicitation fraud and promote wise charitable giving.
Participants include charities, regulators, law enforcement, and other nonprofit associations and stakeholders. Donors can follow the campaign on social media at #StopCharityFraud.
The Secretary of State’s Wise Giving Report provides tips for charitable donors to avoid fraud, and includes data from professional solicitor fundraising contracts and financial reports filed in 2020 and 2021. The Wise Giving Report includes the 2021 Give Smart Watch List—a list of 10 charitable organizations that are soliciting or that have registered to solicit in South Carolina. The organizations included in the Give Smart Watch List have either reported spending less than 40% of their total expenses on their charitable programs, or have failed to disclose to donors how they are using their money. The organizations included in this year’s Give Smart Watch List are listed below in alphabetical order:
- Childhood Leukemia Foundation, Inc., Brick, NJ
- Disabled Veterans National Foundation, Lanham, MD
- Firefighters Charitable Foundation, Inc., Farmingdale, NY
- Law Enforcement Officers Relief Fund, Sarasota, FL
- Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, Annandale, VA
- Miracle House of Hope Ministries, Charlotte, NC
- National Cancer Assistance Foundation, Inc., Daytona Beach, FL
- Project Cure, Inc., Lakewood Ranch, FL
- Retired Police Canine Foundation, Inc., Weeki Wachee, FL
- Walker Cancer Research Institute, Inc., Boynton Beach, FL
“It is tragic that some organizations exploit donors’ concern for legitimate causes in the name of charity,” said Secretary Hammond. “Just because an organization claims to help veterans, law enforcement, cancer patients, or the homeless, does not mean that they are deserving of your contribution. Donors need to be vigilant when it comes to charitable giving, and always check out organizations before making a donation. The best weapon against charity fraud is the educated donor, and together we can #StopCharityFraud.”
Donors can research charities and professional fundraisers through the Secretary of State’s website at sos.sc.gov. The Charity Search, Professional Fundraiser Search and Raffles Search features provide registration and financial data, as well as electronic copies of financial reports. Furthermore, donors can submit a confidential complaint about a charity, professional fundraiser, or raffle through the Online Charitable Solicitation Complaint Form that is available on the Secretary of State’s website. Donors can also contact the Secretary of State’s Division of Public Charities at 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484) or [email protected].