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Guidelines for Charitable Giving Following a Disaster

June 1, 2015

putnam_pictureAs hurricane season begins, we’re passing along this alert from Florida Comissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam:

It’s been 10 years since a hurricane hit Florida, but there is no telling what the 2015 hurricane season, which begins with the month of June, will bring.

That’s why, in addition to developing a hurricane preparedness plan, it’s important to learn about charitable giving in the wake of a storm or disaster. Unfortunately, some charities take advantage of people’s generosity in a time of crisis, lining their own wallets with others’ hard-earned and earnestly donated money.

That’s why we require charitable organizations and non-profits to register with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services before they can begin soliciting contributions in Florida. Those that raise large amounts of money in the aftermath of disasters are required to submit additional documentation to our office.

These steps help protect you from charity-related scams. To take additional steps to protect yourself from these dangerous scams:

  • Ask questions, such as: “Who is the fundraiser and who will benefit from the donation?”; “How much of the contribution goes to the charity mentioned in the request?”; and “How much of the donation goes toward administrative and fundraising expenses?”
  • Research the charitable organization at FreshFromFlorida.com and see how much of a donation will go toward the cause the charity intends to support versus operating expenses.
  • Report any suspicious charitable solicitations by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).

For more information on what we are doing to protect Floridians from charity related scams, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.

Sincerely,

Adam

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