N.Y. telemarketers get half of funds raised for charities: attorney general

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 04, 2015 12:52 PM

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York-based telemarketers that solicit money within the state for U.S. charities were paid more than half the funds they raised in 2013, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Charities using for-profit telemarketers registered in New York paid them 52 percent of the $302 million they raised, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's annual Pennies for Charity report.

“New Yorkers who are generous enough to donate their hard-earned money to charity deserve to know how that money is really spent, including how much is used to pay for-profit telemarketers,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Charities that pay top dollar for telemarketing include “Kids Wish Network,” which gives more than two-thirds of its telemarketing revenue to fundraisers, the report said. The charity's name sounds like the Phoenix-based “Make-a-Wish Foundation,” which does not use telemarketing in fundraising, the report said.

A representative with the Attorney General's office erroneously said earlier that both organizations paid telemarketers.

Despite the high cost of telemarketers seen in the latest report, which covered 573 fundraising campaigns, the share of funds going to charities in fact increased from 2012.

In 2012, 63 percent of the money raised by New York telemarketers for charity went to the fundraisers, it said.

(This story corrects 4th, 5th paragraphs to show that “Kids Wish Network” not “Make-a-Wish Foundation” pays for telemarketing)

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Dan Grebler)