South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond announced the release of his office’s 2019-2020 Wise Giving Report, in conjunction with International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW). ICFAW, which runs from October 19 to 23, 2020, 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. You can follow the campaign on social media at #CharityFraudOut.
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 2019 and 2020. This year, the Wise Giving Report includes the 2020 Give Smart Watch List – a list of ten 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 percent 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:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation, Inc., Schererville, IN
- Committee for Missing and Abused Children, Inc., Lawrenceville, GA
- Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc., Madeira Beach, FL
- Honor Bound Foundation, Inc., Darien, CT
- Kids Wish Network, Inc., Holiday, FL
- Miracle House of Hope Ministries, Charlotte, NC
- United Cancer Support Foundation, Knoxville, TN
- United States Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Inc., Wichita, KS
- Veterans Relief Network, Inc., Dyer, IN
- Volunteer Firefighter Alliance, Inc., Knoxville, TN
“Unfortunately, there are organizations soliciting in our state that exploit donors’ generosity by failing to spend a meaningful amount on charitable programs,” said Secretary Hammond. “I want our citizens to know that just because a charity claims to benefit a worthy cause – like helping veterans, first responders, children, or the medically needy – it does not mean that the charity is worthy of your contribution. Donors must take the time to check out these organizations and ask questions about how their donation will be used. If anything seems amiss, donors should notify our office through the confidential Online Charitable Solicitation Complaint Form that is available on our website at sos.sc.gov.”
Donors can research charities and professional fundraisers through the Secretary of State’s website at sos.sc.gov. The Charity Search and Professional Fundraiser Search features provide registration and financial data, as well as electronic copies of financial reports. Donors can also contact the Secretary of State’s Division of Public Charities at 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484) or email [email protected].