Police & Fire Organizations
In reviewing requests from police and firefighter organizations, potential donors should be aware of the following points. In addition, donors should consider the nature of the organization's programs as they can vary quite widely from one group to the next.
1. The police or firefighter organization may not be a charity. There are many different types of police and firefighter organizations. Some are tax exempt as charities. Others may be tax exempt as labor organizations or fraternal groups. As a result, your gift may not be deductible as a charitable gift.
2. Local officers may not be involved. Don't make assumptions based on the name alone. The words, "police" and "firefighter" in the organization's name does not necessarily mean that local members of the force or any officers for that matter, are involved in any way.
3. Don't believe promises of special treatment. Donations will not result in special treatment by police or firefighters. If such suggestions or threats are used, contact your state's Attorney General and the BBB. Also, if you believe that a police group sticker in your car window will help if you are stopped for a traffic ticket, think again.
4. Don't hesitate to ask for written materials. Ask the organization for written information on its programs and finances.
5. Ask how much of your gift will be spent on fund raising. In some cases, fund raising expenses for police and firefighter organizations can be as high as 80%. Find out how much goes to the group.
6. If asked to buy tickets to send needy kids to an entertainment event, ask how the children are chosen, how many will attend, how the tickets will be distributed and if transportation has been arranged for the children.
7. If your business is asked to buy advertising space in a police or firefighter journal, ask how many copies of the publication will be distributed, who will receive them, if there is a cover price, the estimated publication date, and ask to see a copy of the draft and published version of the ad.
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