If you are familiar with Attorney Matt Weidner, you may know that a few of his cases have focused on the topic of deceptive fundraising. Today we want to talk about deceptive fundraising, what it is, and why it’s important to shut it down!
What is Deceptive Fundraising?
When we talk about deceptive fundraising, we are talking about raising funds for a cause using tactics that are deceptive, misleading, or fraudulent.
Most often, in the everyday vernacular, we refer to people who take part in deceptive fundraising as “con men” or “con women”.
The people or organizations that take part in deceptive fundraising solicit donations in such a way that philanthropic donors are led to believe that their donation is going to a specific cause when, in fact, that is not the case.
There are a number of ways that deceptive fundraising can happen, these include:
- Raising funds for a non-existent or made-up charity
- Misrepresenting what percentage of donations will actually go to help the cause vs. what percentage will go into the pockets of the individuals running the scheme.
- Soliciting donations for a charity with no intention of donating those funds to that charity, but instead, keeping them for personal use.
- Using vernacular that indicates that donations made will immediately be sent to the charity or cause when, in actuality, this may not be an instant process.
- Using untrue facts or stories to solicit funds for a cause.
There are many more ways that people and organizations can raise funds deceptively, but the bullet points above should give you some idea of what it means.
Why Does Deceptive Fundraising Matter?
So, why should you care about deceptive fundraising?
It may seem like a ridiculous question because most of us would just say that “it’s the wrong thing to do” or “it’s unethical”, but there is more to it than just that.
When people or organizations utilize deceptive fundraising they prey on well-meaning philanthropists who are willing to donate their hard-earned money to help others. This becomes a problem because when this donor finds out that they have been deceived and that their donation has not been used as it should have been, they feel duped. This often leads to a reluctance of that donor to donate to other causes in the future because they are wary of being duped again.
So, who suffers when well-intentioned donors get deceived in this way? All of the other legitimate charities and individuals who are genuinely trying to raise funds for causes that do need them and individuals who are in trouble and need help. That means that donations to legitimate charities are going to go down and that means that people who NEED our help aren’t going to get it.
It’s also important to recognize that when individuals use deceptive fundraising techniques, they create a stigma about the people who fundraise for charities. Once someone gets duped by a deceptive fundraising scheme, they are much more likely to look at other people raising funds for charity (even legitimate fundraisers) as con artists, and this just isn’t fair.
Deceptive Fundraising Cases Weidner Law Have Championed
The concept of deceptive fundraising is one that infuriates the attorneys and staff at Weidner Law. As a company that is very much involved in the local community, nothing is more maddening than these so-called fundraisers that operate in and around St. Pete. Any “fundraiser” that casts a dark shadow on our community, takes advantage of our local residents, deprives local families and individuals of funds that have been raised in their name or for their cause, HAS to be shut down.
Weidner Law is proud to be a driving force in pursuing these deceptive organizations and individuals who are operating locally as well as nationally.
Weidner Law Vs. The Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund
Among the cases that Weidner Law has championed is the case that shut down one of America’s largest public “fundraising” charities, the “Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund”. After successfully winning a judgment against the Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund, the Florida Attorney General then began prosecution. In the Attorney General’s case, it was revealed that of every dollar that was collected in “donations” the organization donated between $0.005 and $0.02 in charitable donations to the charity itself. The rest of the donations collected went towards paying “expenses” which were unusually high. The Florida Attorney General deemed that the organization was using the charity as a “pass-thru” for donor funds.
Weidner Law Vs. The Kids Wish Network
Weidner Law has also pursued a case against The Kids Wish Network which was identified by CNN as “The Worst Charity in America”. The report from CNN stated that of the donations collected by this “charity” (which operates in a small hut behind a gas station in Holiday, Florida, less than $0.03 was actually donated to charity. The Weidner Law case was filed against The Kids Wish Network for false, unfair, and deceptive fundraising practices in late 2017.
Are You Familiar With a Deceptive Fundraising Scheme in St. Pete?
Are You Familiar with a Deceptive Fundraising Scheme in St. Pete or the surrounding area? If so, pick up the phone and call Weidner Law today for a free consultation to see how Attorney Weidner can help you to fight your case!