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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for July, 2008

For-Profit Fundraisers Rip Off Non-Profits and their Donors

Jim Burroway

July 6th, 2008

Private, for-profit companies which contract their services to non-profit organizations for fundraising have become a major rip-off, according to the Los Angeles Times this morning.

For-profit campaigns, which often employ telemarketing, mass mailings or one-time events, account for a small fraction of $223 billion in charitable giving each year in the United States. But they collect significant sums and help shape public perceptions of charities. Pairing computer-controlled dialing systems with low-wage workers, such firms can reach a large number of people in a short time.

But after these companies bills are paid, what’s left over? Often nothing. And yet the fundraising business is growing. Since 2000, the number of campaigns and amounts raised by for-profit firms has risen by about two-thirds in California alone.

To see how did your favorite LGBT charity do in California, here’s the list. GLAAD did the best, keeping a little over 70¢ of every dollar collected. Lambda Legal was very close behind at nearly 68¢. The Gay and Lesbian and Straight Education Network appears on the list twice, once under its full name, and once again under its initials. Combined, the two entities kept a little more than 59¢ of every dollar earned. Losers include the Horizon Foundation (8.6¢ of every dollar) and NGLTF (13.5¢ of every dollar, when combined with the NGLTF Foundation).

There is one caveat to these figures — they do not include fundraising which is conducted in-house.