For Immediate Release - December 07, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Releases Report on Professional Solicitations for Charity in 2008

Report found that Charities Received 41 percent of the Proceeds from Charitable Campaigns

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office released its Report on Professional Solicitations for Charity in 2008. Professional solicitors, who are paid by charitable organizations to solicit donations from the public, are required by statute to register with the Attorney General's Office. The report released today outlines the financial results of those individual charitable campaigns conducted in Massachusetts during calendar year 2008. The report is published annually and is designed to assist residents in making informed decisions regarding their charitable giving. It does so by providing the public with information regarding how much of every dollar raised by a campaign ends up with a given charity.

The Report on Professional Solicitations for Charity in 2008 found that professional solicitors raised nearly $292 million. Of this amount, only $120 million or 41 percent of the amount raised ended up with the charity. This means that on average, of every dollar that a professional solicitor raised for a charity in 2008, only 41 cents went to the charity.

"With many people suffering financial hardships and job loss, it's more important than ever to open your wallets to charities that help out the less fortunate. But before making that donation, donors should always consider doing a little homework on the charity they are considering donating to," said Attorney General Coakley. "If reached by phone, donors shouldn't hesitate to ask a professional solicitor what percentage of their donation will go to the charity. Donors also always have the option of sending a donation directly to a charity to ensure the largest percentage of your donation goes directly to the cause."

In addition to looking at the results of the report, potential donors should also consider asking some basic questions when they are contacted by a professional solicitor. This includes asking how much of every dollar donated will go to the charity and requesting confirmation of the charity's name and the services it offers to the public. The Attorney General's Office also maintains annual financial statements from charities and professional solicitors that operate in this state, which are available for public inspection online. Citizens with concerns about solicitations they have received should contact the Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division at 617-727-2200 x2101.

Consumers can also review our Give, but Wisely Advisory online to obtain tips on how to give wisely this holiday season and beyond.

The Attorney General's Report on Professional Solicitations for Charity in 2008 is available on the Attorney General's website.