The Office of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer issued a report last week showing that, on average, charities received less than one-third of the money raised for them by professional telemarketers in the state of New York.
However, Spitzer acknowledged in his report that certain campaigns, including those aimed at finding new donors, might be more expensive and lead to less money returned to the charity.
Spitzer's report, compiled from data gathered by the Charities Bureau of the New York attorney general's office, showed that 555 fundraising campaigns registered in the state raised $170.6 million in 2004, the latest year for which data were available. Only $63.5 million, or 37.24 percent, went to charities. The rest went to fees and costs for the telemarketers.
The percentage of money going to the charities increased for 2004 over the previous year when the figure was 33.7 percent.
Spitzer's report included a “caveats” section warning readers of extenuating circumstances that could explain the low return rates of some telemarketing fundraiser campaigns. Test marketing programs, education and volunteer recruitment campaigns and campaigns for new charities all could have less financial efficiency, the report said.
In a statement, the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation said it was pleased that Spitzer's report acknowledged that the financial return of the campaign doesn't always show the campaign was ineffective. Many campaigns have goals other than fundraising, and as such are less financially efficient than others, the federation said.
Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters