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Barely Half of Money Donated to Charity Actually Gets to Charity

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –Just over half 51% of the money from all charitable donations in 2011 actually went to the charity.

The statistic comes from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s new Report on Professional Solicitations for Charity.

It states that professional solicitors, who are people, even outside agencies. paid to attract donors take the other 49%. Greater Springfield’s Habitat for Humanity is listed in the report and maintains that’s not the case. “I do know there are organizations that use paid solicitors, most local nonprofits use internal paid solicitors, so, part of the staffing. so in this organization, I’m actually am the Executive Director, but I wear many hats, so I’m also the Paid Development Officer which means I manage the relationships for raising funds,” said Jennifer Schimmel, Habitat’s Executive Director.

She explains that organizations like hers are under a much larger umbrella, Habitat for Humanity International. While nationally they may use another type of solicitor at the local level they spend only 3% of donations to make the $1 million needed to sustain their programming.

Schimmel is afraid that if people get the wrong idea, it could hurt their local donations, especially during this time of year. “Most people don’t get the whole story and they hear that Habitat is not a good product to buy into that makes me nervous. In order for us to support the local families that have a great need for housing, we really need people’s support. And now’s the time of year when people are really giving, it causes me a little bit of panic,” Schimmel admitted.

There’s no minimum requirement that a solicitor must pass on to a charity.

If you’re contacted by one, you can ask how much of the dollar amount you’re donating will actually go to the organization. You can also ask for a list of services it offers the public.

That solicitor is required by law to give up that information.

In 2011, Professional Solicitors collected over $388 million. Of that, only $190 million made it to the actual charity.

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