Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Charity Wednesdays - 5 Words that Can Increase Donations

This is interesting.  The results of an experiment conducted during a radio pledge drive in Indiana suggest that women give more when their charitable action is described as caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, or kind

While those words do not have the same affect on men, I think I know why it works with us ladies.  We always hope that what we do for others is appreciated, and that it does actually help them.  Words that express that mean something.  In the same way that I'll spend more on a toy I know my son will play with, I'll give more to a charity if I'm assured that my $50 or $100 gift is actually something they can use.

And I have no idea why that doesn't work on men. Any thoughts on that?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Charity Registration Requirements in Missouri - Corrected

This is a correction to my Feburary 17, 2010 post about charity registration requirements in Missouri that you no-doubt read and put to memory. In it, I summarized my interpretation of the registration requirements for charities in Missouri as spelled out here. At first glance, they seemed really straightforward, but the kind folks at the Missouri AG's office read that blog post and regretfully informed me that I gave Missouri too much credit. Turns out, charity registration requirements in Missouri are not that simple.

First, professional fundraisers (people who make a living fundraising for nonprofit organizations) are required to register. But that definition does not include employees of a charity who are not primarily employed by the organization for the purpose of soliciting funds. As anyone who has ever worked for a charity can tell you, there are times when the whole staff must participate in fundraising or risk not eating the next week. But unless it's an employee's primary job, s/he does not have to register with the State of Missouri.

Second, the requirement that all charities must register has several exemptions:

1. Any organization exempt from paying federal income taxes by the IRS under sections 501(c)(3), (c)(7), or (c)(8) of the Internal Revenue Code so long as no part of the organization's net earnings inure to the benefit of any private party or individual associated with such organization.
2. Religous organizations
3. Educational institutions and their associated foundations
4. Fraternal, benevolent, social, educational, alumni, and historical organizations, and any auxiliaries associated with any of such organizations when solicition of contributions is confined to the membership of such organizations or auxiliaries.
5. Hospitals and auxiliaries of hospitals, provided all fundraising activities and solicitations are carried on by employees of the hospital or members of the auxiliary and not by professional fundraisers.

The above exemptions make sense for many of reasons, among them that they don't put an undo burden on organizations (like food kitchens, animal shelters, etc.) more concerned with delivering their programs than filling out government paperwork. Of interesting note, at least to me, is that the exemptions to the registration requirements cover nearly all of the organizations that would be subject to review under the BBB's Charity Accountability Standards. Where the state rightfully steps out, the BBB - a nonprofit organization itself - steps in to help donors find solid organizations in need of their support.

So, here you go, Missouri. Your charity registration requirements are not so simple after all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Text Scamming

Text spam is nothing new, but a lot of people are affected by it. Recently, A scammer has claimed to be Walmart and offered $1000 gift voucher. People shouldn't click any links they get from unknown text message offers, even to investigate the link. Hidden charges may show up on the person's phone bill. In the case of the fake Walmart voucher, many people who got the text message were automatically charged $9.99, whether they clicked the link contained within or not. This sort of thing has happened before.

There are also "Premium Text" charges that mysteriously show up on people's phone bills via third party scammers. These data charges can show up on phone bills when the owner of the phone texts codes to game shows or voting in competitions.

People should look over their phone bill, in detail, every month, and do not text to any group or business they are not completely comfortable with.  Otherwise, they could end up with a hefty bill on their hands.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reshipping Scams Are Becoming Popular

The Kansas City BBB has been notified of the second reshipping scam to victimize area residents in the past two weeks. Reshipping scammers pay for expensive, easy to ship items at retailers with stolen credit cards. They then ask local people to pick them up and send them to the scammer, where the items are sold on the black market. They target their victims through job search sites and say that they are looking for workers to help expand their operations in the United States. There really isn't a job, they just need a scapegoat when the stores press charges.

The most recent example, "International Sales Services," advertises on Careerbuilder and as a Work-at-Home/Freelance opportunity. Though the advertisement lists other responsibilities, the only one that matters is that the victim will be responsible for "coordinating the supply chain management activities including ordering, purchase and shipment." Everything else in the ad is filler to lend an air of legitimacy.

The person who takes the "job" can be charged with grand larceny if they picked up and shipped away enough stolen product. If at point a job comes up involving this description,the job searcher should flag it on whatever site it was found.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Charity Wednesdays - A Good Excuse to Clean out Your Kitchen Cabinets

Need a good reason to clean out your kitchen cabinets?  Think you just might not need 3 garlic presses?

Well, this month local Whole Foods Market stores are partnering with an organization that provides foster care services in Kansas, KVC Behavioral Health, Inc (KVC) by sponsoring a kitchen equipment drive.   From now until the end of April, donate your unwanted kitchen gear (with manuals, if you have them) to any Whole Foods Market store in Overland Park.

When young adults age out of foster care and begin life on their own, they often don't have the simple cooking skills, and money to purchase basic equipment, necessary to provide themselves with affordable, nutritious meals.  Programs run by KVC help teach young adults basic life skills, including cooking.

So take those unused muffin tins, cookie sheets, casserole dishes, etc. (no knives!) out of that hard-to-reach place in your kitchen and give them a prime spot in a deserving young adult's first apartment.

And click here for more information on young adults aging out of the foster care system.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Scam Alert: C2C Lenders, C2C Properties

We posted a blog a while ago about a company claiming to be a defunct area company called Cencor, Inc. They were actually an overseas advance fee lending company. Well, they are now claiming to be in Canada. The company uses the website They ask their victims to wire $700 to secure the loan.

C2C Properties is another Timeshare resale scam. This one claims to be from Atlanta, GA. Of course, they're not really there. For just $1,800, they will sell your timeshare for more than it's worth. That should be the first red flag. The company seems to have a pretty bad lead list, as they're calling people without timeshares.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Charity Wednesdays - Charity-run Nursing Homes

This blurb about a staffer who embezzled funds from a nursing home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor got my attention today.  I grew up next door to a Little Sisters of the Poor home for the aged and have very fond memories of the sisters who ran it. They are kind souls who provide loving, quality care to those who can't afford fancy facilities. And I'm pretty sure they're pacifists who don't have the same feelings I have toward someone who would hurt them.  That's a good thing.

This post is also a good place to point out that it has been documented that care at nonprofit-run nursing homes is generally better than care at corporate facilities.  One aspect is that staff turnover is considerably less - nonprofits seem to treat their employees like people, instead of cattle.

When I get too frail and quirky for my sons to take care of me, they'll be instructed to send me to those nuns.