Yesterday I got one of those "Wouldn't you like to give us money, and we promise it'll all go to helping disabled veterans!" callers. It gave me great pleasure to tell the guy that my husband is the quartermaster for our local VFW, and all of our donations go there. I encouraged him to remind the veterans that the VFW is there to help them. He was polite, but not thrilled by my response.
Got a similar call a few years back from someone claiming to represent our state police charity. I'm actually pretty sure it was legit, though, but while talking to the guy he mentioned my past support.
Me: what past support?
Him: you contributed to our charity in 2005.
Me: You know, I don't appreciate being lied to.
Him: Excuse me?
Me: In 2004 I was in Korea.
Him: Oh. I, uh....
Haven't heard back from them since.
It was not legitimate! If it was, a very small per centage of the donations go to the charity.
Before we had caller ID, I used to remind the caller that our local police warned us never to donate to charities that called us, particularly for all police and firefighters (true - a notice comes out every spring). If they were still on the line, I asked them what per cent of donations actually went to the police, and if they hemmed and hawed around, I asked if the caller was a volunteer or on a salary.
Many "charities" are cloaked with a name that sounds like the national ones we are all familiar with. For example, Make-a-Wish is pretty good, but the Kid's Wish Network uses less than 3% to send kids on trips.
I used to have a Favorite with a list of per cents turned for the claimed purpose, but can't find it. Maybe another member can find it.