Local News

Report: N.C. In Giving Mood With Charities

Posted December 11, 2003 5:01 a.m. EST

— It is the season of giving, but state leaders recommend you do your homework before you write that next check.

The secretary of state's annual report on charitable giving shows North Carolinians statewide have been generous. The report tracks organizations that use professional fund-raisers.

It shows gross receipts of more than $316 million for the fiscal year that ended in June. That is a huge increase over the same period ending in June 2002 with more than $126 million.

The report also shows the percentage of money charitable organizations keep versus what they pay the fund-raisers has gone up. Organizations netted almost 53 percent of the money versus 43 percent the year before, but some of your donations did not go as far.

For example, a professional fund-raiser collected $3.5 million for the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police. The charity got about a tenth of that. Fraternal Order of Police President Don Penix justified the low percentage, saying his group's solicitor pays its employees well and all of their phone calls are long-distance.

While organizations are keeping more of the money, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall warns people have to be smart about their giving.

"I encourage people to give where they can actually see what is happening -- giving more locally, giving something they have a passion in," she said.

Habitat for Humanity chapters in the state have had a banner year. In the fiscal year ending June 30, they raised $41 million statewide to build houses without the help of fund-raisers, which is a $6 million increase over the prior year.

The Secretary of State's Department fined two companies for violating fund-raising rules. One is in New Jersey and the other was the North Carolina Troopers Association. Both groups sent pledge reminders to North Carolina residents when they never made pledges.