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May 30, 2012

Before donating to a charity, New Jerseyans might want to review the organization's financials. The state Division of Consumer Affairs wants to make it easy to do so; they've released an app that runs on iPhones and iPads that can check out the 26,000 charities that the state has in its database, which allows them to solicit funds in New Jersey.

The app will be updated weekly. The division also has a charity registration hotline, where it's possible to obtain information: 973-504-6215. The database is also available through the web at the division's website.

Eric T. Kanefsky, acting director of the division, said in a written statement that the Better Business Bureau's standard for charity accountability recommends charities should give at least 65 percent of their expenses toward program activities and no more than 35 percent toward fundraising.

Many charities spend far less than that on fundraising. The Community Foundation of NJ, for instance, which is the founder and provider of services and leadership for NJ Spotlight, spends barely more than 1 percent on fundraising activities.

To download the free charity lookup app, go to the Apple App store. Users can also find it by visiting the Apple App store on their mobile device and searching for "New Jersey Charity Search." Although only available for Apple products, the division says it will be expanding the app to other devices.

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