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Report: Fewer donated dollars reaching NC charities

Posted December 19, 2013

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— Only half of the $32.2 million that North Carolinians donated to charity between July 2012 and last June actually made it to the charitable organizations, according to a report released Thursday by the Secretary of State's Office.

That is down from the 54 cents on the donated dollar that charities received in 2011-12, when North Carolina residents donated more than $43.6 million, the report states.

The highest percentage ever recorded by the Secretary of State's Office was almost 60 percent in 2007-08.

“We continue to ask charities to make the very best business decisions they can when it comes to entering into contracts with fundraisers,” Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said in a statement.

The study also noted that the percentage was lower – 46 percent – for national or multi-state fundraising campaigns than campaigns taking place inside North Carolina only.

The annual report doesn't look at all charitable and nonprofit causes operating in North Carolina, choosing to examine charitable groups that use paid solicitors registered with the Secretary of State’s Office.

“It gives us a concrete look at how certain charities were doing both with the giving public and with their own contracted fundraisers during a one-year period," Marshall said. "The new numbers show us that North Carolinians are trying to make good decisions about who to give to, and it tells us that, in the majority of cases, charities here are continuing to make good business decisions in dealing with their fundraisers.”

Sometimes, she said, there are valid reasons for charities and professional solicitors to have lower than expected numbers in the report.

“Educational efforts may be an integral part of their fundraising program, but in accounting terms, they are considered to be part of the expenses,” she said. "Also, the annual report reporting date may come at the beginning of a fundraising cycle, when expenses are high but not a lot of donations have been received."

Marshall advised people to examine a charity's operations over several years to get a better picture of the group before donating.

“The bottom line is, if you see something that upsets you about a charity you support, become better informed," she said. "Then, decide if they have earned your continued support.”

People with questions about specific charities or charitable solicitation activities in general can call the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division of the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-888-830-4989 or 919-807-2214.


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  • dbayard814 Dec 20, 2013

    Read the article carefully. The state auditor is reviewing the activities of charities that use paid solicitors. I can't speak for the Salvation Army, Masons, or Shriners; but as a past grand knight with the Raleigh Knights of Columbus, I can tell you that well over 90% of funds raised are donated to our affiliated charities. Most of those charities serve the needs of the disabled and special needs. I'm very skeptical when our government criticizes the work of charities as if they are somehow more efficient at delivering aid themselves. Let's hear from Ms. Wood what percentage of our taxes reach the community after the government takes it cut.

  • glarg Dec 20, 2013

    They must be talking about the inefficient United Way.

    Dont give to solicitors or impulse checkout line charities. Legitimate organizations are happy to take donations at any time, so sit down and decide how much to give for the year and weight the causes against each other.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 20, 2013

    I do not give to solicitors. I donate cash directly to a specific charity and there are two local food banks that I provide with occasional donations. I might have to cut back next year. My health insurance premium for my spouse doubled thanks to ObamaCare and my property taxes are taking a significant jump. Food costs are up, fuel has come down a little but are still high. Electric of course is going up. My pie is only so big and a greedy Government keeps chomping on a larger and larger portion of it.

  • Justic4All Dec 19, 2013

    One more reason, that is retold this time of year, every year, not to give your money to charities. It just lines some ones pockets that is willing to do the work that charities are to busy to do????? So the charities get their cut for allowing others to use their name.

  • JAFOinWF Dec 19, 2013

    Noone has any money left after Obama's healthcare and Bernanke's inflation to give.