Would you give if you knew just pennies on the dollar would get to the intended charitable cause? Probably not!
But that's exactly what's happening when a charity hires a fundraising firm to call you at dinnertime asking for a donation. Those for-profit telemarketers typically keep the majority of what they raise- we've even seen cases where they keep everything they raise plus a fee from the charity!
What can you do? First and foremost, even if the caller represents a charity you like, politely decline and hang up. Then, if you still want to support the organization, visit Charity Navigator to research the charity. If it checks out, then directly donate to the charity thereby avoiding the middleman altogether.