You are on page 1of 2

Schuette: "Proceed With Caution When Donating Online

Contact: Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

June 16, 2014
LANSING - Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued a consumer alert encouraging donors
to be cautious when donating online. The alert, which Schuette issued through his Consumer Protection
Division, educates donors regarding a new form of online giving known as crowdfunding.
"Crowdfunding and other types of internet giving can be tools of tremendous good, but as with any
type of giving, it can be abused, so it's important to proceed with caution when donating online," said
Schuette. "I encourage all Michigan citizens to give—but give wisely."
Crowdfunding is defined as a collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money,
usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Simply put,
crowdfunding is another way of asking people for money.
"Michigan Nonprofit Association applauds the Attorney General for taking the lead in protecting
Michigan citizens on this emerging national fundraising trend," said Donna Murray-Brown, President and
CEO. "Nonprofits that intend to engage in crowdfunding efforts should also be aware of state laws that
regulate such activities."
There are several popular crowdfunding platforms. These include IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and
GoFundMe. Here, users can create their own projects in seeking donations to fund their proposal.
Crowdfunding projects are often spread through social media sites, which can potentially lead to a wider
donor base.
Here are some questions to consider before donating:
 To whom are you donating? Are you sure of the asker's identity? Could it be someone
 How do you know that your money will be spent appropriately?
 If donating to an individual: Is it someone that you know? Someone that you trust? Is the
amount being raised reasonable or does it seem excessive?
If you have further questions regarding donating to charitable organizations, contact your local law
enforcement or the Attorney General's Charitable Trust Section. Under the Charitable Organizations and
Solicitations Act, the Charitable Trust Section registers charitable organizations that solicit from the public;
both the Attorney General and local prosecutors have enforcement authority under this Act.
The Attorney General's Charitable Trust Section may be contacted at:
Charitable Trust Section
P.O. Box 30214
Lansing, MI 48909

For more information on crowdfunding for charity, see the Better Business Bureau's "Crowdfunding
for Charitable Causes."