HOW YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF: You can “investigate before you donate” and learn how charities in New Jersey spend your money with a new smart phone app launched today by the state Division of Consumer Affairs.
The free “Charity Lookup” application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is designed to help users make informed decisions before donating to charities.
It eventually will be made available for users of the Android and other devices, state authorities said.
It’s updated weekly, with information from the Division’s database on the financial records of 26,000 charities and non-profits registered to solicit in New Jersey. The information is drawn from each organization’s most recent fiscal year report.
“When you look at the numbers you’ll learn some so-called charities dedicate only 10 or 20 cents of each donated dollar to actual charitable programs, and give the rest to fundraisers,” state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. “Savvy consumers do their research before they make a purchase or an investment – and they should do the same before giving to a charity.
“With this app we’ve made it easier than ever to know where your money will go before you donate.”
“While the Supreme Court has ruled that states can’t force charities to spend more money on charitable causes than on fundraising or management costs, we owe it to consumers to bring transparency to the ways charities use the donations they receive,” added Eric T. Kanefsky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Users can also find it by visiting the Apple App store on their mobile device and searching for “New Jersey Charity Search.”