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Post date: December 29 1999

Spitzer Releases Annual Report On Telemarketing Practices

Attorney General Spitzer today released a report compiled by the Charities Bureau of the Department of Law highlighting the costs incurred by charities that engage telemarketers to solicit contributions from New Yorkers.

The Report entitled: Pennies for Charity, Where Your Money Goes: Telemarketing by Professional Fund Raisers,provides a detailed listing of the information filed with the Charities Bureau by professional telemarketers who conducted fundraising campaigns in New York State during 1998.

A total of $178.1 million was raised during the period by 582 fund raising campaigns. However, only $52.1 million, or 29.2 percent of the funds actually went to charitable organizations. The remainder was retained by the telemarketers for fees and other costs.

"After reviewing the information contained in Pennies for Charity - Where Your Money Goes, consumers may choose to donate directly to a charitable organization, rather than through a professional fund raiser acting on a charity's behalf," said Spitzer. "It is our intent to help educate the public so that prior to making a donation they can evaluate how a contribution can have the greatest value in serving the mission of a charity. It also allows charitable organizations to select their soliciting agents wisely in order to maximize their return."

The information contained in the report pertains solely to telemarketing campaigns conducted by charitable organizations registered to solicit contributions in New York.

The Attorney General's web site: contains an electronic copy of the report.

Dear Fellow New Yorkers:

The citizens of this State are extremely generous people. Every year New Yorkers contribute billions of dollars to charitable causes. Millions of those dollars are donated in response to telephone solicitations. Many telephone solicitation campaigns are conducted by professional fundraising companies and the solicitors whom they employ. Those companies are required to register with my Department and file financial reports summarizing the income received and expenses incurred during the course of their fundraising campaigns.

The staff of my Department's Charities Bureau has reviewed all of the financial reports filed by telemarketers for campaigns conducted in New York during 1998. I am pleased to provide you with a copy of "Pennies for Charity - Where Your Money Goes," a report on those telemarketing campaigns for charity. Please read the explanations as to how this report was prepared before making a decision whether or not to contribute to a particular charity or to retain a professional fund raiser.

This report is designed to assist New Yorkers in choosing the recipients of their charitable donations by making available data from telemarketing campaigns, including the total amount contributed, the amount received by the charity for which the campaign was conducted, and the percentage of the total income received by the charity. The report is also intended to encourage charitable organizations that use professional fundraising services to select their soliciting agents wisely in order to maximize their return and better fulfill their missions.

Telemarketing may be only part of a charity's fundraising programs. Before deciding whether or not to contribute, you may also want to get additional information from a charity about its other fundraising activities and the programs it conducts.

I hope that this report will assist New Yorkers in continuing their long tradition of generous charitable giving.


Attorney General