Good Giving Guidelines

How to Make Informed Decisions About Giving to Charities

If you are asked to give money to an unfamiliar charity, take a moment to investigate before you contribute. Call the charity — a reputable organization will welcome inquiries — and carefully examine provided information and materials.

When a charity calls you seeking a donation, the caller must provide the name of the organization and the location of its principal place of business. Professional solicitors calling on behalf of a charity must also provide this basic information about the charity.

Here are some of the warning signs that a donation request might be fraudulent:

  • The charity's name is similar to a well-known, nationally recognized charity
  • High-pressure tactics are used to request immediate donations
  • The caller is hesitant or unable to answer questions about the charity or how the donation will be used
  • The individual or entity does not provide a real callback phone number
  • The caller offers to pick up donations immediately instead of waiting to receive them in the mail
  • Prizes, cash rewards or sweepstakes entries are offered in return for a donation
  • The individual or entity requests checks to be made payable to a person instead of the charity
  • The caller requests bank or credit card information and you didn’t expect the call

The Charitable Law Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office maintains a register of charitable organizations and professional solicitors that raise money in Ohio. Both must generally file annual financial reports with the attorney general’s office, although some charities are exempt from filing.

To learn more about researching charities, visit our Research Charities page. You can also view annual reports showing charities that have used professional solicitors to raise money in Ohio, along with the percentage of gross revenue promised to each of those charities. A list of current solicitation campaigns being conducted by professional solicitors on behalf of charities is also available.

The Charitable Law Section is empowered to investigate alleged fraud and take legal action to end scams and stop the misuse of donations. If you suspect charitable fraud or have questions about a charity or a professional solicitor, call the attorney general’s office at 800-282-0515, or file a complaint online.



Charitable Law Section
30 E. Broad St., 25th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 800-282-0515
Fax: 614-466-9788