Professional fundraisers received more than 25 cents for each dollar contributed to a charitable cause in 2021, according to an analysis released this week by New York Attorney General Letitia James' office.
The annual report on charitable giving and where the money goes comes as Giving Tuesday is recognized this year and as New Yorkers make annual donations to charity.
The report found more than $460 million in charitable contributions last year went to professional fundraisers hired by charities to help them raise money.
The report reviewed 658 campaigns by professional fundraisers in 2021. About 73% of those donations went directly to the charities themselves, a small increase from 2019 and little change from the prior year.
The report found 276 charitable campaigns, or about 42%, received less than half of the funds raised, with professionals hired retaining the rest. About 15% of the campaigns analyzed showed expenses exceeding revenue and cost charities more than $10 million.
“When New Yorkers make the generous choice to give to a charity, they trust that their money will be used responsibly,” James said.
Professional fundraisers must register with the state attorney general's office and their financial reports submitted to the Charities Bureau must show their earnings and expenses.
James' advises New Yorkers to ask questions before giving if contacted by charity.
State law requires telemarketers who are soliciting on behalf of charities to make disclosures, including if they are getting paid and part of a professional fundraising team and cannot make false or misleading claims.
The report also advises to double check if a charity making an appeal is a well-known name. And donors should research first before making a contribution online and give to campaigns conducted by people who they know and that a website is secure.
Dononrs should also check if fees will be charged and make sure the charity has given permission to use its name or logo.