New York State Attorney General finds charity telemarketers keep 62% of what you donate

boiler room

In 2012, New York charities raised nearly $249 million, but telemarketers kept about 62 percent of the donations, the state attorney general says…

Often telemarketers target seniors or the disabled because they are home, answer the phone and are usually socially isolated and eager to speak with people because they are lonely. However, many are on fixed incomes and these donations are a real sacrifice that eats into funds needed for healthcare, food, prescriptions and heat.

Charities in New York City received the highest rate of return, with telemarketing campaigns taking in $42 million and returning $22 million, or 53.9 percent, while Long Island organizations fared the worst, pulling in a gross of $8 million and a net of $2 million or 25 percent…

Some of the non-profit groups with the worst percentage of money to the charity and fundraising expenses are law enforcement and veterans groups — two areas that seniors are apt to donate.

For example, the Department of New York Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States collected 15 percent from the fundraising money, the Police Conference of New York also gained 15 percent and the state Association of Chiefs of Police received 20 percent.

For those considered a donation via a telemarketer, Schneiderman advises asking the caller making the solicitation to describe the programs conducted by the charity, how much of a donation will be used for those programs, how much the telemarketer is being paid and how much if any of a donation the charity is guaranteed to receive.

Checking up on folks asking for charitable donations should be number one. Cynicism aside, charities are a great source of marks for any hustler. The NY AG’s report [.pdf] is available over here – and it’s useful whether or not you live in the Empire State.

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