Fundraising fees down

Professional solicitors and telemarketers that help North Carolina charities raise money keep 45 cents of every dollar they bring in, a share has hit a new low, a new study says.

The Charitable Solicitations Report, published annually by the N.C. Secretary of State’s office, examines gross receipts from nonprofit fundraising events conducted by outside firms.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall says in a statement she hopes charities’ rising share “indicates a greater understanding by all parties that the public wants charitable dollars to be used in the most effective manner possible.”

The 504 fundraising events conducted by those solicitation firms in the year ended June 30, 2004, grossed $145.6 million, down from $316 million in 2003 when post-Sept. 11 sentiments fueled giving, but more than any other year since the study began in 1998, the report says.

Overall, solicitation firms kept almost half of what they raised, but percentages returned to charities ranged from 96.6 percent for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to zero for more than a dozen groups, including the United States Fund for UNICEF and Easter Seals.

Marshall says some groups conduct fundraising efforts more for educational purposes and may raise money through other channels.

“Some undertake extensive educational efforts as an integral part of their fundraising program as well,” she says, “but that’s counted as part of the expenses, or additional money may come in after the reporting period ends.”

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