How can I find out if a charity is legitimate?
Most charities operating in Arizona must register with the Secretary of State and file a financial report with the Secretary each year. The reports contain useful information about the charity and are available to the public at no cost. A.R.S. § 44-6552.
How do I know if a group is really authorized to solicit on behalf of a charity?
Professional and/or paid fundraisers must register with the Secretary of State before they begin soliciting for any charity. Registration requires that they post a bond and provide detailed information about their working agreement with the charity. A.R.S. § 44-6554. All paid fundraisers must inform you that they are being paid to solicit for the charity. A.R.S. § 44-6555. When you contribute or pledge to contribute by telephone, they must send you certain written information about the fundraiser and the charity within 5 days. They must also provide you with the toll free number for the Arizona Secretary of State, who has additional information about the charity and its fundraisers on file. A.R.S. § 44-6555.
Also, a fundraiser cannot use the name, literature or symbol of a charity without the charity's written consent and cannot claim the organization he or she represents is a charity, unless it meets requirements outlined by the State of Arizona. The fundraiser cannot claim the solicitation has the support or endorsement of a person or group, unless there is written consent, nor can the fundraiser misrepresent the mandatory registration with the Secretary of State as an approval by, or an endorsement from the State of Arizona. A.R.S. § 44-6561.
Last revised: 21 October 2008