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Attorney General: Private telemarketers snatch up bulk of charitable donations

The Attorney General office is warning people that the bulk of the money they donate to ostensibly charitable causes is going directly into the pockets of telemarketers.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The Attorney General office is warning people that the bulk of the money they donate to ostensibly charitable causes is going directly into the pockets of telemarketers.

According to the report, fundraising professionals received an average of 61.5 cents for every donated dollar their charity received. Now, the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating to see whether or not any state laws have been violated.

The Attorney General’s office looked at 602 fundraising campaigns that incorporated telemarketers. According to their research, only 49 of the 602 campaigns retained 65 percent of the money raised, which is the amount the Better Business Bureau considers acceptable for a charitable organization.

In 467, the charities kept less than 50 percent of the funds raised and in more than one third of the campaigns, they retained less than 30 percent.

In 76 of the campaigns, the charities actually lost money.

Several Central New York charities were included in the Attorney General’s report. In the list below, the percentage refers to the amount of money that went to each charity:
  • Chenango County Law Enforcement Association: 35%
  • Cicero Police Benevolent Association (PBA): 28%
  • Fulton PBA: 37%
  • Ithaca PBA: 40%
  • Lake City Police Club (Oswego PD): 37%
  • Oneida County PBA: 30.4%
  • Onondaga County Volunteer Firemen's Association: 27.74%
  • Oswego County Lodge - NYS Lodge #1 of the Fraternal Order of Police: 30.01%
  • Sheriff's Silver Star Association (Oswego County Sheriff's): 20%
  • Tompkins County Deputy Sheriff's Association: 50%
  • Vietnam Veterans of Central New York Foundation: 19.51%
The Attorney General's office says people should never give to an unfamiliar charity on the phone, should ask questions about how much money the charity will receive and what the money will do, and should avoid giving in to the pressure from the telemarketer to give now.

For more information, the Attorney General’s office has set up a database regarding charities.

The Attorney General’s office cited other websites that can be helpful including:

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