Charities’ share of dollars raised shrinks

Elaine Marshall
Elaine Marshall

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina charities that use paid solicitors to raise money had a tough year, not only bringing in less overall, but paying a larger percentage to professional solicitors, a new report says.

Charities that used professional solicitors to administer fundraising campaigns raised a total of $26.7 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, down 13 percent from the $30.7 million raised in 2010, says the latest report from the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division of the N.C. Secretary of State’s Office.

And the share of the total raised that actually reached charities fell to 49.5 percent in 2011 from 53.7 percent last year and a high of 59.8 percent in fiscal 2008.

That means that in 2011, paid solicitors kept more than half the amount they raised on behalf of North Carolina charities.

“The numbers reflect what so many of us continue to hear,” Secretary of State Elaine Marshall says in a statement. “Charities are facing a big demand for services but donations are not growing to meet that demand.”

Among the 548 fundraising campaigns listed in the report, dollars netted by charities varied widely, with some organizations retaining none of the money raised and others netting more than nine in ten dollars raised.

But Marshall says there could be valid reasons that campaigns net little or nothing for their sponsoring charities.

Some campaigns are for educational purposes rather than fundraising, for example, and others may have been launched before the end of one fiscal year, with proceeds expected in the next.

While the share of dollars netted by charities fell in 2011, it outpaced the 46.5 percent retained in campaigns conducted outside the state on behalf of North Carolina charities.

“The bottom line is, if you see something that upsets you about a charity you support,” Marshall says, “get as much information as you can and then decide if you feel they have earned your continued support.”

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