The 20 Worst Charities in America, According to Oregon's Attorney General

worst charitiesIt feels good to give to needy organizations, whether it's a homeless shelter or a firefighter's charity. But how would it feel to know that most of the money you donated went to the telemarketing company making the call?

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger released a list of what he calls the 20 Worst Charities, hoping that consumers would make sure to avoid scams and give money to those groups who actually put it to good use."In the middle of a recession, it is more important than ever that generous Oregonians make charitable contributions to organizations that help veterans and others who are in need," said Kroger.

"It is critical, however, that people donate wisely. Although many charities do great work, some are little more than scams with good-sounding names but that do little to actually help the people they claim to support."

Charity guidelines usually dictate that they spent at least 65% of the money they collect on their programs. But every charity on the list devotes less than 25% of what they get to the people or activity they're supposed to be collecting the money for.

Kroger pointed out that California-based organization Shiloh International Ministries -- which is supposed to use its money providing help to children, veterans and the homeless -- actually spends 96% of its donations on management and fundraising.

The California-based nonprofit spent an average of $1,023,215 per year.

Other charities Kroger highlighted include:

  • Association for Firefighters and Paramedics, based in California
  • Korean War Veterans National Museum & Library, based in Illinois
  • Foundation for American Veterans, based in Michigan
  • Big Hope, in South Carolina
  • Law Enforcement Education Program, in Michigan
  • National Vietnam Veterans Foundation, in Virginia
  • Dogs Against Drugs/Dogs Against Crime, in Indiana
  • Firefighters Charitable Foundation, in New York
  • Committee for Missing Children, in Georgia
  • The Wishing Well Foundation, in Louisiana

Keep these tips in mind when donating and check out the state's database for its take on specific charities. Check out the IRS's website to make sure it's tax deductible.

  • Don't give to unregistered charities
  • Do your research.
  • Resist impulse decisions to donate.
  • Do not donate cash.
  • If you don't remember a pledge, you probably didn't make one.
  • Be leery of sweepstakes for charity.
  • Contact the charity directly.
  • Don't give personal or financial information over the phone.
  • Reduce the number of unwanted solicitations by registering your number on the Do-Not-Call List.
  • Make sure your gift is tax-deductible.

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