Donor Questions to Ask When Solicited by Telephone

The following information will help donors make an informed giving decision and help regulators investigate complaints about misrepresentations made to donors.

  1. Time and date of the call

  2. Name and registration number of the charity

  3. Name and telephone number of the person making the solicitation

  4. Affiliation of the person making the solicitation. Did they say they were a paid solicitor? If so, did they tell you the name and registration number of the telemarketing company?

  5. What did the caller tell you about the specific charitable programs or purposes your money would support?

  6. What percent of your donation did the caller say would go to the charity?

  7. Did you think the money would be used locally? How important is that information to you?

  8. Did the caller use inappropriate pressure tactics or harass you into making a donation?

  9. Did you confirm the charity or paid solicitor was registered on the Secretary of State’s website?

  10. Did you send a donation after this call?
    1. Form of payment (check or credit card?)
    2. Amount of donation
    3. Date of donation

  11. Did the caller send you a written confirmation of the expected contribution after the call and prior to your donation?

  12. Did you request or did the organization send you any other documents related to this solicitation? Any promotional materials, financial information, or testimonials from the company?  Receipt for donation?  Email messages?

  13. Did the caller say your donation was tax-deductible, and, if so, what percentage was tax-deductible? How important is that to you?

  14. If the donation was not tax-deductible, did they disclose that fact prior to your agreement to make a donation?

  15. How many times has someone called on behalf of that organization?

  16. Did the caller tell you that you had previously made a contribution to the same organization for the same purpose or were under any obligation to make a contribution? If so, did you in fact make such previous donation or pledge to contribute?

  17. Were you told that you would receive special benefits or favorable treatment from a police, sheriff, patrol, firefighting, or other law enforcement agency or department of government if you made a contribution?

  18. Were you told that you would receive unfavorable treatment from a police, sheriff, patrol, firefighting, or other law enforcement agency or department of government if you did not make a contribution?

  19. Did the caller say the charity was a membership organization representing police, sheriff, patrol, firefighters, first responders, or veterans? Did they say what percent of the charity’s membership such people actually constitute?

  20. Any other details of the call that caught your attention or swayed your decision?


If you believe the caller made misrepresentations or was simply fraudulent, you may file a complaint with the Secretary of State.  The more information you can provide, the more likely it is that investigators will be able to establish violations of law.