NIC Inc. : New Smart Phone App from New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Lets Consumers Investigate Charities with Ease
05/29/2012| 10:05am US/Eastern
With a free, new smart phone app, the Division of Consumer Affairs has
made it easier than ever to "Investigate Before You Donate" and learn
how your favorite charities actually spend the money you give.
The New Jersey Charitable Look Up mobile app helps citizens 'investigate' nonprofits before they 'donate.' (Photo: Business Wire)
The Division today launched the free "Charity Lookup" application for
the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Built without using taxpayer money,
the app is designed to help users make better-informed decisions before
they donate to charities. The app is updated weekly, with information
from the Division's database on the financial records of 26,000
charities and nonprofits registered to solicit in New Jersey.
"Savvy consumers do their research before they make a purchase or an
investment - and they should do the same before giving to a charity,"
Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. "When you look at the numbers
you'll learn some so-called charities dedicate only 10 or 20 cents of
each donated dollar to actual charitable programs, and give the rest to
fundraisers. Other organizations spend virtually every penny on
worthwhile charitable projects. With this app we've made it easier than
ever to know where your money will go, before you donate."
The screen shots, provided above, show how the app is used. Simply type
in the full or partial name of a nonprofit, such as by typing the words
"New Jersey" to find the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Then click on the
organization's name to find a breakdown of its revenues and expenses,
drawn from the organization's most recent fiscal year report. The app
shows the New Jersey Hall of Fame spent a total of $412,000 during its
most recent reported fiscal year, 99.8 percent of which went toward
actual programs to support its mission, less than 1 percent of which
went toward management costs, and none of which was spent on fundraising.
"While the Supreme Court has ruled that states can't force charities to
spend more money on charitable causes than on fundraising or management
costs, we owe it to consumers to bring transparency to the ways
charities use the donations they receive," Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting
Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said. "This
app, like our Charities Registration Hotline, provides an important
service. It will help shine a spotlight on the state's most
un-charitable charities, and bring well-deserved recognition to the
organizations that put donated dollars to valuable use."
Director Kanefsky noted that the Better Business Bureau's Standards for
Charity Accountability state a charity should dedicate at least 65
percent of its expenses toward program activities, and no more than 35
percent toward fundraising. When consumers consider donating to a
charity, they should compare that guideline with the charity's actual
The Charity Lookup app currently is available only for Apple mobile
devices, but will eventually be made available for users of the Android
and other devices. It can be downloaded directly at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/new-jersey-charity-search/id503535534?ls=1&mt=8.
Users can also find it by visiting the Apple App store on their mobile
device and searching for "New Jersey Charity Search."
The Charity Lookup app is the product of a partnership between the State
of New Jersey and the New Jersey Information Division of NICUSA, Inc.,
the official eGovernment partner of the State of New Jersey. The New
Jersey Information Division of NICUSA, Inc. helps New Jersey government
entities Web-enable their information services.
The app only provides information about charities that are currently
registered with the Division. Charities not listed in the app may be
exempt from registration, may have had their registration revoked, or
may have failed to comply with the law requiring that they register. For
information on charities that don't appear in a search of the app,
consumers may call the Division of Consumer Affairs' Charities
Registration Hotline at 973-504-6215.
Director Kanefsky noted the "New Jersey Charity Lookup" app is the
second free app launched by the Division of Consumer Affairs and NICUSA,
Inc. in their effort to make vital marketplace information directly
accessible to consumers.
The "New Jersey Professional License" app, launched in June 2011, allows
users to access its license and registration database and find
information about the approximately 600,000 individuals who provide
services to the public, ranging from healthcare practitioners to home
improvement contractors. (Press release: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.com/press/ipad.htm
The State Division of Consumer Affairs encourages New Jersey consumers
to learn about charities before making a donation. For example:
Find out whether the charity is registered in New Jersey, or is exempt
from having to register. (Certain religious and educational
organizations, and charities whose annual income includes less than
$10,000 in public contributions and fundraising, are exempt from
having to register with the State).
Find out how much the charity spent during recent fiscal years on
program costs, management costs, and fundraising.
Learn about the charity's stated mission.
Consumers may obtain information about a charity in several ways. In
addition to using the new app they can ask the charity itself
(reputable charities encourage you to do so); visit the charity's
website; visit the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' Charities
Registration page at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov;
or call the Division's Charities Hotline at 973-504-6215 during
regular business hours.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business,
or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with
the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website, www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov,
or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within New Jersey) or
Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/NJ-Division-of-Consumer-Affairs/112957465445651,
and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/outreach/.
NIC Inc. (NASDAQ: EGOV) is the nation's leading provider of official
government portals, online services, and secure payment processing
solutions. The company's innovative eGovernment services help reduce
costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and
businesses across the country. NIC provides eGovernment solutions for
more than 3,500 federal, state, and local agencies in the United States.
Additional information is available at http://www.egov.com.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50291194&lang=en
New Jersey, NICUSA
Casey Faiman, 609-586-2600
© Business Wire 2012