Local News

Report: Fewer donated dollars reaching NC charities

Posted December 19, 2013 5:39 p.m. EST

Money generic, dollars

— 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.