Resist “Save the Puppies” Charity Appeals and Give Wisely

Pete Thomson

September 15, 2018

(DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TEXAS — Consumer Team News)   Whenever disaster strikes charities of all shapes and sizes jump into action asking consumers to help them with their mission of helping the needy.   According to Pete Thomson, host of The Consumer Team, disasters bring out both good and bad actors in the charity space.  He said, “For every good non-profit like The Red Cross or Buckner International, there are 10 charities that either have serious fiscal issues or, in some cases, are complete charity scams.”

According to Thomson, animals and children are often utilized by non-profits wanting to make a quick connection with the consumer.   He added, “Children and animals get the phone ringing any day of the year.  Just days ago, before a hurricane was about to hit the East coast of the US, I was getting emails asking me to rescue puppies in the area devastated by the storm.  The appeal was very well done and had a terrific supporting video.   Based on the material I received, the charity looked very legit.  However, when I investigated the charity, I identified several issues including multiple consumer complaints.”

In the case of animal relief charities, Thomson says, the charity names are very similar, which adds to consumer confusion.  He said, “Just because a non-profit has the word society, league, humane or rescue in its name doesn’t mean it’s worthy of your financial gift.   Some of the really bad actors in the charity world have the most responsible sounding names.”

To make sure you’re dealing with a credible charity, Thomson recommends using Charity Navigator, a non-profit watchdog that provides consumers in-depth financial information on non-profits.   He says the expense numbers can give consumers valuable information and help them avoid a charity scam.  Thomson added, “Responsible non-profits open their books to independent audits.   When you vet a charity through Charity Navigator you can see what percent of each dollar is being used for administration versus helping people in need.   We recommend giving to the non-profits that delivers the highest percentage of the money they receive to the needy.”

Back to animal rescue charities, Thomson says there are several that score well but you have to do research to identify them.   He adds, “Several of the animal relief charities are doing a terrific job of saving abused animals.  However, they’re generally not the ones that are making the biggest splash promotionally.”

To research a charity, go to   Click here to read the Consumer Team Guide to Charitable Giving.   The Consumer Team with Pete Thomson is heard every Saturday, 5-6 PM on 740 KTRH/Houston and 6-8 PM on 1080 KRLD/Dallas.   The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, Texas.