Fundraisers not always who they say they are |

Fundraisers not always who they say they are

Amanda Fehd

A 17-year-old that was canvassing neighborhoods in South Lake Tahoe this month was not being honest as he raised money for a Northern California non-profit, according to the boy’s father.

James Terry of Citrus Heights and owner of Select Coupons said all of his workers are directed to tell the truth about their relationship with the non-profits they are paid to fund raise for. He was in Tahoe with his wife, and two boys and two girls who were fundraising July 8.

In the past 7 years, the company has raised over $40,000 for the non-profit California Sting, according to Terry and Sting vice president Bruce Gibson. Sting is a Northern California non-profit organization of baseball and softball teams that compete throughout the country.

Terry’s son told a reporter he was 18, graduated from South Tahoe High School, was raising money for his own baseball team and that 100 percent of donations would be given to Sting. In fact, the boy is 17, from Citrus Heights, does not play baseball, and will receive at least a 20 percent cut of donations he gathered, according to Terry and Gibson.

In addition, the boy crossed out Gibson’s home number on a receipt he provided, and replaced it with his father’s business number.

Terry was angry about his son’s actions.

“No matter how honest your company is, you can’t tell what the kids are saying when they are unsupervised,” Terry said. “He will never say those things again, or he will never work for me and my company again.”

El Dorado County Sheriff’s Detective Don Atkinson said they receive occasional calls on such solicitors. He said the companies are legal, but often the non-profit gets only a small cut of what they collect.

A valid business license and itinerate business permit must be with the person.

Gibson said they have worked with Select Coupons for many years and have benefited from their fundraising, but they do not tolerate workers who lie because it reflects badly on the non-profit.

“They sometimes get a little overzealous and say things that aren’t accurate,” Gibson said. “But they do all the work, all the pounding, and all the effort, so they do get a large percentage of what they pull in.”

Some of Gibson’s players also work as solicitors, in order to bring more of the donations back to the organization. Sting’s Web site is

Select Coupon’s business license shows up as Pacific Coast Marketing Systems. Their phone number is (800) 594-3775 or (916) 729-6327.

What to do:

— Do not give cash. Write a check directly to the non-profit.

— Ask for identification

— Request a receipt

— Solicitors must have an “itinerate business permit” from the county

— Make sure documents, letters from the non-profit are not altered or marked

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