It goes without saying and yet can never be said enough: police and firefighters provide an invaluable service to our communities and across our nation. Jeff Tognetti knows this; that’s why he donates his money to multiple police charities every year. By donating to more one than organization, Tognetti is ensuring that some of his donations go towards helping police, firefighters or their loved ones – all of whom often deal with a variety of difficulties – in different capacities.
It’s not just Tognetti who expresses gratitude towards those who serve our country; many individuals salute our civil servants via one of the many American flags, yellow ribbons, and shield decals that can be seen every day on everything from cars to homes to park benches. Others, like Tognetti, also donate to police charities.
One of the best things supporters can do is donate to a certified, strong charity that promises to provide assistance to police, firefighters, military veterans, and their families. If you want to give back to a local or national police charity, there’s a few ways you can ensure that your own money goes to causes as worthy as Tognetti’s. The best way to ensure your money goes to a solid organization is to donate on a local level and help the people in your own community; you could even ask a local station directly what organizations they recommend donating to, if they do not take donations directly.
If you insist on donating to a national organization, you can use Charity Navigator to ensure that the charity you donate to spends most of its money assisting the people it’s pledged to assist (as opposed to on major events, pointless fundraisers, and anything beyond the basics).
You can also use these additional tips from the Better Business Bureau to learn how to analyze various charities or charity appeals, become a better donor and make sure your money is going where you think it is:
1. Don’t assume that the words “police” or “firefighter” in an organization’s name means your local police force or fire department is involved.
2. Ask for specifics about the programs your donation would support. Appeals are sometimes vague on this point.
3. Don’t be pressured into giving on the spot. Sympathy for the cause is no reason to forgo checking out the charity.
4. Don’t believe the suggestion (it’s illegal) that your donation will give you “special treatment” from police or firefighters.
5. Telemarketing, used by many police and fire organization, can be costly. If solicited by phone, ask for financial information that will enable you to check this out.
6. Don’t assume that your contribution will be tax deductible as a charitable gift. Police and firefighter organizations may be of many types, not all with the same deductibility status.
7. See if the Better Business Bureau in your area has a report about the organization.