When tragedy strikes many people demonstrate their generosity and donate goods and cash to the victims of the tragedy. That has occurred many times in Lincoln County. While people are generally the focus of tragic events, our pets and livestock are also vulnerable to tragedy or misfortune.
Publicity involving events of injury, abuse, or neglect of animals always results in public outcry and outreach. People want to help and many give financial donations to help defray veterinarian costs, and to feed and care for the animals. Donation cans appear, bank accounts are opened, and people give generously.
It is important that regardless of the cause, donors need to exercise some caution before donating. This office has warned our citizens of many cons and scams over the years, many even involving law enforcement. To ensure your donation is: 1) used for its intended purpose(s); 2) is tax deductible; and 3) is handled by a reputable organization or business, your Sheriff’s Office recommends you research the sources you are donating to.
Your donation can be tax deductible if you give to a registered non-profit. Any registered non-profit will have a Tax I.D. number which they will provide to you upon request (many publish them). This is what the I.R.S. requires in order for you to claim a deduction. If the organization cannot produce a Tax ID number, they are not a registered nonprofit.
You can check the status of a nonprofit at www.guidestar.org. Guidestar gathers and publicizes information on more than 1.8 million nonprofit organizations. Their basic search is free. You will find report information from the IRS Business Master File such as form 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF. 2010 reports are just being added.
To ensure your money is being spent as you intended, ask the following:
1. Are donations going to the people or organization directly caring for the animals?
2. Are cash donations being credited to an account at a feed store, pet store, a veterinarian’s office, etc.
3. If credited to an account, are purchased materials and services used for only the rescued animals?
4. If there are donation cans, is the person(s) retrieving the money a representative of the authorized non-profit? Where is it going?
5. If a bank account is opened, what are the funds being used to purchase?
6. If cash is being turned over to individuals, is it going directly to benefit only the rescued animals? How is that verified?
It is always better to “help” via a reputable nonprofit or business that can dedicate funds for specific needs. Any good nonprofit will have checks and balances that will ensure funds are being spent as you intended.
For more tips and other information, visit our website at www.lincolncountysheriff.net, or call 541-265-0652.Share on Facebook