Filed Under: Uncategorized

Dialing Up The Wrong Numbers

Let the donor beware! Unwitting would-be contributors who get telemarketing calls from activist groups could be doing more to line the pockets of professional fundraisers than the causes they think they’re helping.

Even a once criticism-proof group like MADD was slammed by the American Institute of Philanthropy in 1994 for spending as much as $53 per $100 received on paying outside contractors to generate donations. That year, two of MADD’s top five contractor expenses were with telemarketing companies. In the years since, favored telemarketers have continued to keep MADD donations — an average of $2.5 million a year between them. But now, MADD calls them “Public Awareness” contractors, not “Fundraising” expenses.

The State of New York tracks “telemarketing by professional fundraisers” in its report Pennies for Charities 2001. How much money did leading anti-consumer groups actually get from their telemarketing in New York last year?

Almost half of MADD’s take went to telemarketers — the group raised over $6.9 million, but netted less than $3.5 million. Over 49 percent of the take went to the telemarketers.
Greenpeace and PETA actually saw less than a third of the funds they “raised” in New York in 2001. PETA’s telemarketers kept over $135,000 for themselves, while PETA got less than $55,000 (28.6% of the gross). Greenpeace netted just over $20,000 (23.6%) — and its fundraisers kept over $85,000.
The Center for Food Safety‘s telemarketing actually cost the group money. While the anti-biotech group’s marketers took in over $43,000, the Center actually lost over $9,000 on the campaign.

This is just the tip of the “funny money” iceberg. All these groups, and many more, are exposed in great detail on our website

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