Not All Charitable Organizations Are Created Equal (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw

June 20, 2013 Updated Jun 20, 2013 at 6:08 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) – It seems no matter the intention, the goodwill of human nature is met by some form of a scam. And as always the Better Business Bureau warns you to do your research before giving to a new charitable organization.

The BBB features a number of accredited businesses and charities where you can donate everything from cash to gently-used clothes and shoes, but sometimes charities aren't as generous as they seem.

The best way to protect yourself and your donations to ensure it is really making a difference to those who need it is to take the time to find out where the money is going.

The BBB wants you to know that dropping clothes or toys in drop boxes around the city does not always mean it will get to the hands of families who need it most. Some of these companies are for-profit and only give a small percentage of the revenue back to the community.

"The amount of money that they give to the purpose intended is very small,” explains Mike Coil with the Better Business Bureau. “65 percent is the standard to meet BBB standards. And when people are giving one or two percent, where is the rest of that money going?"

Coil advises your best and safest bet is to donate to organizations with names you recognize like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Before donating to a new cause or charity, go to their website to get more information on how the organization disperses its income.

One example Coil gave were panhandlers seen primarily around the north side of town collecting change for the charity "Sandbox Veterans of America." They have been known to ask commuters sitting at stop lights for change, sometimes getting very aggressive.

The BBB claims, despite multiple attempts to get information about the charity and where their proceeds go, they have never received a response back. Because of this, you’ll find Sandbox Veterans of America are currently listed on the BBB website as an FTD organization, or "failure to disclose."

Coil says these are the kinds of charities you must be on the look-out for.

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