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Report: Fundraisers keep more than they donate

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The charities you donate to may not be getting all of the money you send to them.

A new report shows that many professional fundraisers – organizations used by charities to solicit on their behalf – keep a large portion of the donations you give.

The Michigan Attorney General’s fifth annual Professional Fundraising Charitable Solicitation Report shows that an average of 39% of total donations to fundraisers actually reached their designated charity. The other 61% went to the professional fundraisers.

The Better Business Bureau says fundraisers should not keep more than 35% of the donations they receive.

Megan Hawthorne is a spokesperson for Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office.

She said the best way to make sure your donation is going to your charity, is to donate directly.

“Not to say that those fundraisers shouldn’t be able to make their money, but they should be honest with how much is going to the charity,” Hawthorne said.

Charities use professional fundraisers for things like telemarketing and sending mail solicitation. It can help a charity increase its donations, but Hawthorne said, “I know a lot of people … they want to see that money go to the charity, not to the fundraiser.”

The Attorney General’s office recommends doing research before giving money to a fundraiser and not letting yourself feel pressured to give right away.

“Make sure you ask questions when they call,” Hawthorne said. “Ask how much of the donation actually goes to the charity. If they’re vague or kind of try to avoid answering your question, you know you don’t have to give money at that time.”

The best way to make sure your charity of choice is getting 100% of your donation? Donate directly, Hawthorne said.

You can view the full report here

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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