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Nonprofits Should be Transparent

Nonprofits have no reason to get defensive when asked to provide proof of status which they are required to (by the IRS) do if asked in writing.

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

http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/newtown-sandy-hook-school-shooting/hc-newtown-choir-controversy-20130207,0,2022250.story

  • 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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Karen's Dog Training Blog February 09, 2013 at 05:52 PM
http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/default/article/Ex-Greenwich-woman-sister-of-9-11-rescue-1628506.php Who wanted to believe this was all a lie? No one did.
Allison Belfonti February 17, 2013 at 10:57 PM
"Recently I was vilified and subject to hate email, false reviews of my business, and more" I can tell you that none of that came from the group you questioned. We never sent any email, false review or anything else, and encouraged everyone who follows us to do the same. Show the love....leave it alone. It's possible the hate email came because you seem to be a very negative person who has given other groups issues. We knew we were on the up and up.... unfortunately, we had a lawyer who did not do his job and even though he was paid, he did not file the paperwork that needed to be filed. We thought everything was correct since we paid someone to do it.... There is no mention in your story above on how you harped on us, got down right nasty to us, and that the issue has been resolved. And now, the non-profit you are talking about, is being attacked on FB, having accounts deleted (reported as fake) and reported for bullying. Please, check our current stats and take your negativity somewhere else, away from the good we are trying to do. Please.

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