As each calendar year comes to a close, non-profit organizations large and small make their final pleas for charitable donations, often using the motivation that your donation is tax-deductible. The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police would like to remind citizens to review these solicitations carefully and to research the organizations asking for your money before sending in that donation.
While the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation (VACP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and will gladly accept donations to support our educational efforts via our website, the VACP does not engage in telemarketing or direct mail solicitation campaigns for donations. There are other law enforcement membership associations or foundations in Virginia with potentially similar sounding names to the VACP that might engage in such direct solicitation efforts, but they are not the VACP. Our affiliate organization, the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (VACLEA) also does not engage in telemarketing or direct mail campaigns.
Additionally, there are a number of organizations out there that attempt to solicit funds from citizens with the mission of supporting law enforcement. Their marketing materials might use phrases such as “backing the blue” or “supporting the thin blue line” or “behind the badge.” Read these solicitations carefully before donating. Often times, these are not actually charitable organizations but rather political action committees or funds (PACs) and your donation to such entities is NOT tax deductible.
Donations to 501(c)3 charitable law enforcement organizations (like the VACP or a local police foundation) typically go to fund educational scholarships for law enforcement officers or their dependents, relief funds for injured officers or the families of deceased officers, “shop with a cop” type events for underprivileged children, and other similar programs.
Donations to law enforcement-friendly PACs, however, don’t usually directly support law enforcement or your local law enforcement agency. Instead, those funds go toward supporting pro-law enforcement political candidates or toward lobbying efforts for increased law enforcement agency funding or other such support. Sometimes, solicitations from these PACs or other law enforcement-supporting entities might reference a citizen’s local law enforcement agency in their materials, but this does not necessarily mean your local agency is connected with that solicitation effort or that they will directly benefit.