EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 29, 2013

AG: Do homework before donating to charities


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — BOSTON (AP) — Just 34 cents of every dollar collected by professional solicitors in Massachusetts in 2012 ended up with the charities they were representing, according to a new report by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Professional solicitors in 2012 collected more than $266 million, but just $91 million ended up with the actual charities, the report said.

That’s a decrease from 2011, according to the report, when an average of 49 cents of every dollar collected by professional solicitors went back to charity.

The $266 million collected in 2012 is about $122 million less than collected in 2011.

There is no state requirement that a minimum percentage or amount of funds donated through a professional solicitation campaign be passed on to the charity, according to Coakley’s office. The amount of donations going to the charity can vary widely and can’t be directly regulated by the state.

Coakley urged potential donors to do their homework before writing a check, and ask some basic questions, including whether the person seeking donations is a volunteer or paid professional and how much of every dollar donated goes directly to the charity.

She said professional solicitors are required by law to disclose certain information when asked and in general are not allowed to mislead prospective donors or misrepresent facts.

The report also cautioned that charities can view the return on investment from professional fundraising campaigns beyond just the percentage of funds raised in a single year.

Financial statements from charities and professional solicitors that operate in this state are available to the public on the attorney general’s office website.

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Online: http://www.mass.gov/ago