Recently I was vilified and subject to hate email, false reviews of my business, and more because I asked for proof of a group's nonprofit status. Before I asked, I checked all the sites - IRS, State of CT and more. All I could find was that this group formed a non-stock company (which does not mean it is a non-profit). Nowhere was I able to find anything about non-profit status - applied for or approved - nothing. Nowhere was I able to find a way to contact the group except for a virtual office in Wallingford or a private group on Facebook. The group never responded to my written request for documentation which they are required to (by the IRS) do if asked in writing. Not responding to my request is a violation.
People were really angry that I could question anyone's motives especially in light of the Newtown murders. How dare I question anyone who claims to be doing good and who went to Newtown? How ugly and suspicious of me! Sadly people do misrepresent themselves and groups. Here are just a couple examples:
- A woman was arrested in NY for raising money for a fund for Noah which was allegedly going to her bank account and nothing was going to anything to do with Sandy Hook.
- Read this article and ask yourself if the families in Newtown who have questioned this choir are suspicious and ugly. Regardless of your opinion of the choir, people have a right to question
- Back when Scott Shields was making claims about what he and his dog Bear did on 9/11 and collecting money for various nonprofit ventures, I was one of the people who contacted media and groups helping him with funding to advise them that none of it was on the up and up. He published a book, did speaking engagements and accepted donations from all over the world.
Imagine the reactions we got when we questioned his story – we were jealous, we were horrible people. How dare we? Google this man and the real story – part of which you can read here. http://www.landofpuregold.com/truthiness.htm
Yes, it is hard to believe anyone would ask questions about charities and people who say they are doing good work. Had many not questioned Shields, the woman in NY, the nonprofit company in Manchester that was raising money for police dog vests that we never delivered and so many more, people would still be giving money to unscrupulous people. The people question these nonprofit often endure vicious attacks.
For the record, I never said the “nonprofit” group I asked about was stealing, lying or not on the up and up. I did say that their refusal to provide proof they are required to provide when asked in writing raised more questions. Still have no idea if this group is a nonprofit because they have never answered the question.
People who want to be sure their money goes where they want it to go need to ask questions. Nonprofits have no reason to get defensive when asked. Instead they should be transparent and follow the law that requires them to provide proof upon request. If people do not ask these questions, then a lot of people can be duped by people whose hearts are not in the right place.
As a former founding member of a non-profit, I know our group was never insulted when asked. Our nonprofit info was posted on the web site and provided to anyone who asked.
Nonprofits should be transparent.