All charitable organizations that either solicit contributions from Maryland citizens or are located in Maryland are required to be registered with the Office of the Secretary of State if:
In addition, any charity not required to complete a full registration is required to file an exempt organization fund-raising notice. Registration, however, does not imply endorsement.
The Charitable Organizations Division has a master list of approximately 13,000 charities. This office can provide information about the purpose of a charity, the amount of money a charity is raising, the percentage of the money collected which is used for charitable program services, and the percentage which is used for administrative costs and fundraising. Inquire about this information.
Unless you are already familiar with and support an organization, do not promise you will contribute to its cause when you are called on the phone. Instead, ask:
Donors are entitled by law to receive a copy of a financial statement from charities which are registered with the Secretary of State. Written solicitations must include a statement that a financial statement is available upon request and must provide the name, address and telephone number of the charity.
Registered charities are required by law to provide a copy of its financial statement to any person who requests one. This request must be answered within 30 days and no charge can be made for this information.
While a summary of this information may be received by a telephone call to the Office of the Secretary of State, it is the charity's legal responsibility to provide copies of its financial statement to members of the public.
Some charitable solicitations send messages or red flags which might lead a person to question whether this is an organization worthy of support or even whether it really is a charity:
Important: Donors have the right to ask as many questions as necessary to reach a point where an informed decision is possible. Additionally, donors have the right to change their mind after having agreed to make a donation. A pledge to make a contribution is not a legally enforceable agreement.
16 Francis St. Annapolis, MD 21401 ~ Phone Number: 410-974-5521 ~ FAX Number: 410-974-5190
Office Hours: 8:30 - 4:30 ~~~ Certification Hours: 8:30 - 4:00