Fundraising can come with a cost to charities

Fundraising can come with a cost to charities

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -A report from the South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office revealed Pee Dee organizations who work with professional or paid fundraisers kept around one percent of the total money earned.

WMBF Investigates identified local charities in Marion, Florence, Georgetown and Horry county listed on the “2017-2018 Wise Giving & Professional Solicitor Report.”

The report lists all the charities that have contracts with other companies or individuals for fundraising events like bingo or phone soliciting. The report also lists how much of the money donated is kept by the charity.

Thirteen fundraising events hosted by various charity organizations between July 2015 through September 2017 generated $14.2 million. However, the total amount charities kept was only $146,000 or one percent of the total.

The highest percent kept by a charity was 44 percent after an event between various Marion County associations and Southern Style Promotions.

Fundraising can come with a cost to charities

In one instance, Syrian Lebanon American Society of South Carolina actually owed nearly $60,000 to Bingo Rama after a bingo fundraiser, according to the report.

Here’s a look at the data WMBF used.

The Secretary of State’s Office said it notices when charities use professional or paid fundraisers, a lot of the money is spent on professional solicitor fees.

“When you get a call soliciting a donation, it is almost always from a professional solicitor, and donors need to ask how much of their donation is going back to the charity and how much is going to the solicitor,” said Shannon Wiley with the South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office.

By knowing the percent of expenditures organization gives to charity, individuals can know where their donations are going and how they are being spent.

“It is our hope that the ‘Wise Giving & Professional Solicitor Report’ will give charitable donors the tools they need not only to give from the heart, but to also give smart,” the office said in a press release.

The Secretary of State’s Office also keeps donors informed by reviewing the financial reports to track where charities are using their dollars each year.

WMBF obtained a list detailing how local organizations are using their expenditures.

Nearly half of the charity organizations use 75 to 100 percent of their funds on charitable program services in the 2017 fiscal year.

Thirteen organizations reported using 100 percent of its funds for its services.

Forty-nine organizations using none of their funds on their program services.

Wiley explained, “Many of the organizations with ‘zero’ percentages may have been inactive the year that the report references or may not have broken out the program expenses from total expenses in their annual financial reports.”

For the entire list of the charities and how much they spend on program services click here.

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