Residents Advised to Ask Questions before Donating to Veterans’, Hurricane Relief Charities

HARRISBURG – Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele has advised Pennsylvania residents who are solicited for donations to charities that claim to help military veterans or victims of Hurricane Sandy, to ask questions about the organization before making a contribution.

“Pennsylvanians are generous and want to do all they can to help the brave men and women who have defended our country, particularly around Veterans’ Day,” Aichele said. “In addition, Pennsylvania residents want to help our neighbors in New York and New Jersey who are suffering from the impact of the recent storm.”

“While most charities are reputable and deliver most of the money they solicit to the causes they support, unfortunately some are not,” said Aichele, whose department oversees charitable organizations.

Aichele advised residents, if they are not familiar with the organization asking for a donation, to ask questions such as:

  • What percentage of the money raised is used for fund-raising expenses?
  • What percentage of the money raised is used to cover administrative costs?
  • What percentage of the money raised goes to the charitable cause?

“You can also ask for a phone number to call, a website to visit, or literature for more information,” Aichele added. “If someone soliciting donations is unwilling to give you this information, it should be a red flag about donating money to that group.”

Pennsylvania is home to more than 1,034,000 veterans, the fourth-most of any state, which is one reason many veterans’ assistance organizations are located in the state. Aichele emphasized there are many reputable organizations in Pennsylvania that do help veterans.

In addition to requesting information from an individual soliciting a donation, people can visit the Department of State website at, and click on “Charities,” then “Information for Consumers,” or call 1-800-732-0999 for the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations hotline to find out if a charity is registered with the state.

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