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Oregon Attorney General Issues Report Listing The 20 Worst Charities

As the end of the year approaches, you are probably considering donations to charities and other non-profit organizations. If so, this is news you'll find critical.

The Office of the Attorney General for the State of Oregon issued its report covering its annual review of organizations and charities raising funds in Oregon that spend spend more money on professional fundraising and administrative costs than on the actual charitable cause it supports. Besides the ranked list, the announcement also included advice for consumers:

"Well-informed and proactive donors can avoid supporting organizations that spend little on their charitable missions. Rather than responding to an unsolicited telephone call or mailing, take time to identify the causes that matter most to you... The organizations on this year’s “Worst 20” list exemplify some “red flags,” including the use of names that are confusingly similar to more reputable charities, and the use of emotionally appealing, but vague, descriptions of the charities’ activities."

The report is based upon standards by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where organizations should spend no more than 35 percent of the money raised on fundraising and administrative costs, and contribute at least 65 percent of the money raised to the actual charitable programs. For example: a charity that spends 5 percent on the charitable cause it supports that means that 5 cents of every dollar you give goes to the charitable cause and 95 cents of every dollar you give goes to expenses for professional funding and administrative expenses.

So, the 20 worst charities are those organizations that operated furthest from the BBB standards. The top 12 worst charities:

Charity / OrganizationLocationAvg. Annual Expenses (000)% Spent on Charitable Cause
1. Law Enforcement Education Program Troy, MI $2,097.0 3.1%
2. Shiloh International Ministries La Vernem, CA $727.7 3.4%
3. Firefighters Support Foundation Greenfield, MA $3,590.8 6.6%
4. Firefighters Charitable Foundation, Inc. Farmingdale, NY $7,315.6 7.8%
5. The Wishing Well Foundation Metairie, LA $1,216.5 10.0%
6. National Vietnam Veterans Foundation Alexandria, VA $4,547.1 11.1%
7. Committee For Missing Children Lawrenceville, GA $2,181.5 12.4%
8. Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Lauderdale Lakes, FL $4,300.1 13.9%
9. Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center, Inc. Niceville, FL $649.7 14.6%
10. National Association of Police and Lay Charities Washington, DC $424.9 14.7%
11. Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund Arlington, VA $2,585.9 15.8%
12. Dakota Indian Foundation Chamberlain, SD $1,446.6 18.0%

Download the full report with the 20 worst charities (Adobe PDF).


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Informed consumers research charities before giving money. A couple resources to help you research charities:

Good Giving: How to Make Informed Decisions About Giving to Charities (State of Ohio AG)

Charity Navigator


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