BOSTON, MA – On “Giving Tuesday,” Attorney General Maura Healey released a new report
finding that less than half of the funds raised by professional solicitors on behalf of charities in 2015 were transferred to charitable organizations. The AG’s Office is offering tips for consumers who are looking to make donations to charitable organizations this holiday giving season.
“Massachusetts has an incredible tradition of charitable giving and we strongly encourage people to give wisely to nonprofit organizations that help people and strengthen communities across the state,” AG Healey said. “On ‘Giving Tuesday,’ we want to remind people that while most charities are reputable and need our support, it is important to make informed decisions and understand how much of a donation will ultimately go to the charity and the mission it supports.”
Charitable organizations sometimes pay professional solicitors to solicit donations from the public, and solicitors are required by statute to register
with the AG’s Office. Conventional professional solicitors fundraise through phone, mail and door-to-door campaigns. The Report on Professional Solicitations for Charity outlines the financial results conventional fundraisers and charities report from campaigns conducted in Massachusetts during calendar year 2015. The report is published annually and is designed to assist consumers in making informed decisions regarding their charitable giving by providing the public with information by calendar year on how much, on average, of every dollar raised by professional solicitors ends up with charities.
In 2015, conventional professional solicitors collected more than $201 million. Of the amount collected in 2015, approximately $82 million ended up with the actual charities. The 2015 reports are consistent with campaign reports from the last five years in which net proceeds of funds transferred to charities that professional solicitors raised were below 50 percent. This means that, on average, 41 cents of every dollar that a conventional professional solicitor collected was directed to the charity. This reflects a slight increase over 2014, when an average of 38 cents of every dollar that a professional solicitor raised went back to the charity.
In addition to looking at the results of the report, potential donors should consider the following points when they are contacted by a professional solicitor, including:
- Is the solicitor calling your home a volunteer or a professional fundraiser?
- How much of every dollar donated will go to the charity?
- Confirm the charity’s name and the services it offers.
Professional solicitors are required by law to disclose certain information when asked and may not mislead prospective donors or misrepresent facts. While the most effective means of preventing fraud is an educated donating public, the AG’s Office has a variety of tools to address deceptive practices.
The AG’s Office maintains annual financial reports from charities and professional solicitors that operate in this state, which are available for public inspection online. Consumers with concerns about solicitations they have received should contact the AG’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division at 617-963-2315