CHESAPEAKE -- Julia Lindsey avoids answering the phone because she gets too many people asking for donations.

In the past, Lindsey gave money to various charities, but she isn't in the position to give money now.

'They start out asking for $45 and I say I don't have that. Well, they say, can you do $15? I say no, I can't help. Well what about ten?' she states.

She wants the calls to stop. She says she gets at least seven calls a day from so-called charities, many of which she's never heard of.

She's not alone.

According to Charity Navigator, an online guide to intelligent giving, many charities use telemarketers to make their calls. In some cases, the telemarketing agency will get a percentage if a donation is made, so it's in their best interest to try to collect.

'Once you donate to one person, seems like it's goes to everybody,' says Lindsey.

The American Heart Association relies very heavily on donations.

'If we did not communicate with the people who support us and the volunteers and anyone who needs that information, then we would not be able to what we do. There's no doubt about that. Without donations, we literally would not exist,' explains spokeswoman Lisa Davenport.

Davenport says the AHA asks for donations from people who've already signed up to receive information about one of the organization's programs, such as the Red Dress Campaign.

She notes that anyone who doesn't want to be contacted for donations or to receive information can opt-out. She says it's a good idea to check whether your charity has that option.

'You can make one phone call, send one email and say take me out of everything and we can see you in the database and take you right out,' she says.

If you signed up for the Federal Trade Commission's Do-Not-Call List to stop telemarketers, remember charities aren't on that list. However, a charity using an outside telemarketing agency to make calls can be penalized by phoning people on the Do-Not-Call list.

It's also recommended that you donate to charities with a demonstrated commitment to donor privacy. That means they won't sell or trade your name to other companies.

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