Charities & Contributions

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If you're considering donating to a charity, do some research before you give. By finding out as much as you can about the charity, you can avoid fraudsters who try to take advantage of your generosity.

South Dakota does not have licensing or registration requirements for non-profit or charitable organizations. Also, South Dakota does not require charitable organizations who conduct solicitations via direct mail to register. Paid solicitors who conduct telephone solicitation campaigns on behalf of a charitable organization are required to be registered and bonded with Attorney General's Office, Division of Consumer Protection. Paid solicitors hired by a charity or non-profit are also required to provide solicitation campaign notices and financial reports to Consumer Protection.

Although charities are not required to be registered, here are tips to help make sure that your charitable contributions actually go to the cause you wish to support:

Though the National Do Not Call Registry gives you a way to reduce telemarketing calls, charities and political groups are exempt. If a charity or non-profit is calling or sending you mailings, you can request that they remove your name and address from their system, and that they cease contact. If you request to be removed from a calling/mailing list and the charity continues to solicit you, they may be subject to a fine.

Charitable Sweepstakes



Be cautious of promises of guaranteed sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. According to U.S. law, you never have to make a donation to be eligible to win a sweepstakes. Both donor and non-donor sweepstakes participants have an equal chance of winning a prize.

Although a sweepstakes letter indicates "you're a winner," it's unlikely that you have won the "grand prize." For a national direct mail campaign, a charitable organization may mail from a half million to ten million or more letters.

Charitable Sweepstakes Scams

Charities and fundraisers (groups that solicit funds on behalf of organizations) use the phone, face-to-face contact, email, the internet (including social networking sites), and mobile devices to solicit and obtain donations. Naturally, scammers use these same methods to take advantage of your goodwill. Regardless of how they reach you, avoid any charity or fundraiser that:

If you believe you have been a victim of a charity/non-profit scam, contact the Attorney General's Office, Division of Consumer Protection www.consumer.sd.gov or 1-800-300-1986 to file a complaint. Your information can help detect patterns of wrong-doing.