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Half of donations in state reach charities

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Elaine Marshall

PJ staff report

RALEIGH, N.C. – Slightly more than half the donations North Carolinians made last year to nonprofits through professional solicitors actually reached the intended charities, says a new report from the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office.

Overall, professional solicitors raised $30.7 million from the state’s residents in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010.

Of that total, $16.5 million, or 53.73 percent of each dollar raised, reached charities’ coffers, while the remainder was collected by solicitors as fees.

That’s an improvement over fiscal 2009, when only 40.77 percent of the funds raised by solicitors were retained by nonprofits.

And this year’s performance is better than national campaigns that included state residents, where a total of $440.9 million was raised, but only $173 million, or 39.25 percent, went to targeted charities.

“The new numbers show us that the public is trying to make good decisions about who to give to,” Elaine Marshall, state secretary of state, says in a statement. “And it tells us that North Carolina charities appear to be making good business decisions with the fundraisers they hire.”

Several of the 484 campaigns conducted in fiscal 2010 netted nothing for their sponsoring charities, but Marshall says some efforts are meant to be educational, while events conducted later in the fiscal year may not see payments until the following year.

The Secretary of State’s Office operates the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division, which keeps tabs on professional fundraisers in the state.

Last year, the division collected fines totaling $56,250 from North Carolina charities and their professional solicitors.

“The bottom line is, if you see something that upsets you about a charity you support, get more information about what happened and then decide if you feel they are earning your continued support,” says Marshall.

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