Saturday, September 4, 2010

Giving to Police and Firefighter Organizations

Most people appreciate the work that the brave men and women who work as police officers and firefighters do for our community.  My boys met a 'real life' firefighter last weekend and their reaction was much like mine would be if I ever met Bono.  Police and Firefighters deserve that kind of rock-star status.  And we like to help them when we can.  Like with all organizations, prospective donors should educate themselves before donating to an organization that purports to help our first responders.  Here are some basic guidelines to follow:
1. When responding to a fundraising appeal, make sure you make your check out directly to the organization and don't give cash.
2. Don't feel pressured to make a giving decision on the spot. An organization that needs your money today, will need it just as much tomorrow or the next day.
3. Don't believe promises that your donation will give you 'special treatment' from the police and firefighters in your community.
4. Ask about the organization's tax-exempt status.  Make sure your gift is tax-deductible.
5. Ask questions about the organization and its finances.  A telemarketer, for example, should be able to tell you how much of your donation will actually go to the charity.

The Kansas City BBB has reports on two local Police and Firefighter organizations, Kansas State Troopers Association and Police Benefit Association of Kansas City.

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