ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) - The website claims it helps donations blossom for small charities. But a local woman says her home based charity wants nothing to do with an internet middleman.
This is a grandmother who just wants to keep kids warm during the winter. She says she never authorized the web based fundraiser to solicit on behalf of her non-profit organization. Rosie Clay counts on the generosity of others to help almost 2000 children. At Christmas she' takes monetary donations. She also relies on shoppers to buy winter clothes. Clay explains it this way. 'Shoppers come by and pick names off the table and shop for our children. They bring them back to us, the majority of the time they be wrapped. '
She calls the program "The Giving Tree". It falls under her 5o1 c-3 non profit, "Love in Action, Messiahs Endtime Ministries". She saw the name on the website of Charity Blossom. This is how she reacted. 'That`s where I discovered they not only had my name, my PO Box. They had my 501 C-. They had my group exemption number on there. '
She kept searching and found a request for donations. And Clay says that worries her. 'It concerns me because if they`re collecting money in my name, all of that could end up on that number. And I could end up somehow responsible for that, that I wouldn`t have collected a dime for.'
When you go to the website, the donor selects either a specific organization to receive the gift or people can give to what Charity Blossom calls its "field of interest" fund. Either way, Charity Blossom keeps about 7% for fees and then decides how much goes to the smaller charity. Charity Blossom has not responded to me or Rosie Clay. The Better Business Bureau gives them a C rating according to BBB Spokesperson Chris Thetford.
‘It appears the organization has done a lot of data mining through the Internal Revenue Service.'
If you want to help a non- profit organization, you`re better off dealing directly with that group. You want to avoid the middleman. If your organization is listed on Charity Blossom`s website and you object to the listing, you need to contact the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General`s office to file a complaint.
If you have consumer issues call us at Contact 2. The toll free number is 800-782-2222. Volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday between 11am and 1pm.