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Friday, January 22, 2010

Professional Fundraisers on the Hot Seat

As we have said before, we advise donors to steer clear of professional fundraisers that call on behalf of non-profit organizations. Not only do most take a cut of your donation which results in less of your money ending up in the charity’s hands, but most of these for-profit companies don’t really care about the cause they’re promoting.
A law suit filed by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo against four telemarketers accuses the companies of deceiving the donors they were contacting, in addition to not being forthcoming about the fees they received for their telemarketing services. The four organizations in question kept an average of 76% of funds raised, meaning only 24% of each donation made it to the charity.

It is important to note that the lawsuit was brought after complaints from concerned donors, so we urge you to be proactive, and file a complaint with your state Attorney General’s office if you feel you are dealing with harassment or deceit from a professional fundraising organization. As always, if a professional fundraiser calls you, we suggest you ask for information in writing, and if you wish to support the cause, donate to the organization directly, bypassing the telemarketer all together.

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Gena said...

Some questions that donors can ask:

1. Is the organization and it's fundraising staff a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals?
2. Has the organization adopted the Code of Ethical Fundraising?
3. Has the organization adopted the Donor Bill of Rights?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then the person soliciting the funds from you CANNOT be taking a percentage of the donation, or receive any commission or bonus as it pertains to the dollars raised.

Unknown said...

Of course professional fundraisers receive part of the cut from donations for which they call for. Otherwise, how would they be able to get paid?

Some charities list on their website the percentage of money the professional fundraiser receives. What is wrong with a donor checking things out on-line and then making a decision?

By the way, I know of at least one charity which uses part of the money from donations made directly to the charity toward fundraising that the charity itself does (fundraising by mail), so in at least one case it probably doesn't matter whether the donor uses the fundraiser or not.