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Mississippians urged to research disaster relief charities

The devastation caused by a recent tornado in Columbus and flooding across the State has left many in Mississippi wondering how they can help out. The Mississippi Secretary of State’s says they are ready and able to serve as a valuable resource for information about some disaster relief charities before donating money.

“Mississippi is really one big neighborhood,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “When our neighbors are struggling, we are always there to help one another. At our Agency, we are focused on ensuring funds donated by generous Mississippians to charities within our purview reach those who need it the most.”

Charities soliciting funds in Mississippi, with some exceptions, must be registered with the Secretary of State’s Office. However, out-of-state charities which do not target Mississippi donors may not be required to register in Mississippi.

Each year, the Agency publishes a Report on Charitable Organizations in Mississippi. The report outlines the financial information of charities registered in the State, including the percentage of charitable funds actually spent by a charity for its charitable purpose.  The Council of Better Business Bureaus recommends at least 65 percent of a charitable organization’s total expenses be spent on program activities directly related to the organization’s purpose.

Hosemann added that religious institutions and organizations which are instrumentalities of the government, such as the American Red Cross, are not required to register with the Secretary of State’s Office.

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