Helping Charities vs. For-Profit Fundraising Firms

Woman with headset at call center

If someone calls you to ask for a charitable donation, chances are it’s a hired telemarketer.
Image: Shutterstock

Have you ever received a phone call from a charity seeking a donation? If so, there’s a good chance that the person calling you was a professional telemarketer working for a company contracted by that charity. Often, charities will work with fundraising firms in order to try and reach out to more people more quickly, with the assumption that doing so will increase the donations they receive, allowing them to do more good.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most of these charities are losing out on the deal. According to Charity Navigator, professional fundraisers take a pretty big cut of your donation for their services. This means that, when you get that unsolicited call and you donate, some, maybe even most, of your money isn’t actually going to that charity. In fact, some for profit fundraisers end up taking the entirety of your donation and still charge the charity a fee.

So what should you do it you get such a call, but you still want to help? The best thing you can do, whenever you donate, is to be as informed as possible. Get whatever information you can from the person calling you then, after hanging up without donating, do some research on your own. Look the charity up online, read their documentation, see what other people have to say about them. Make sure you’re comfortable with the charity, with how they raise and spend their money, and if you still want to donate, call them directly or donate through their website.

When you donate directly to a charity, instead of through a fundraiser, you ensure that they get all the money you donated. Something else to consider, though, is that charities that hire outside fundraisers tend not to be very efficient; after all, they’re spending donation money to hire such companies. Consider finding a similar charity that doesn’t use for-profit fundraisers and donate to them instead, your money will likely go further.

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