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When you donate to help police officers, you want your donation to go to a charity that really helps them. Doing a little bit of research and asking questions will help you do that.

Many legitimate charities support police officers, but some will spend nearly all of your donation on fees and administration. Other organizations are outright scams. Just because it has the word “police”  in its name, claims to be affiliated with local police departments, or uses pictures of people dressed as police officers or firefighters, doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate charity. But how can you tell? Follow these tips before you donate:

Do your research

  • Search the charity’s name online with words like “complaint” and “scam.”
  • Check out reports and ratings through organizations like BBB WiseGiving AllianceCharity NavigatorCharityWatch, and GuideStar.
  • See if the charity is registered with your state charity regulator. Most states require charities to register before soliciting. You can find your state regulator at
  • Call your local police department to verify a fundraiser’s claim to be collecting on its behalf. If the claim cannot be verified, report the solicitation to your local law enforcement officials.
  • Use the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search to see if your donation is tax-deductible. Donations to some police  groups may not be.