Are Michigan’s Professional Fundraisers Earning Their Keep?

Charitable giving is an essential part of our society, but for many charities it can be difficult to determine the most effective method of generating the donations needed to support their cause. For small to medium sized charities in particular, there simply aren’t sufficient resources to conduct major fundraising campaigns in-house. Accordingly, professional fundraisers are often hired to conduct these campaigns for the charities via telemarketing, mailings, etc. But are these professional fundraising companies generating sufficient donations to justify their involvement? Unfortunately for Michigan charities and their donors, the answer – according to one recent study — is “No.” The Michigan Attorney General’s recent 2012 Professional Fundraising Charitable Solicitation Report suggests that many charities might be better off going it alone.

The report tracks the actual donation proceeds to Michigan charities from professional fundraisers and shows that, in 2012, Michigan’s 320 professional fundraisers on average passed on to the intended charities only 35% of the total donations. “Feed the Children, Inc.,” was the only charity on the list that reported 100% of its donations going to charity, and many donations on the list reported negative balances, which means that the professional fundraiser fees were actually greater than the generated donations.

Individual donors, business donors and charitable organizations alike should review the list of professional fundraising campaigns and the resulting percentage of proceeds yielded by the intended charity in an effort to assure that Michigan’s charitable donations are being used in the most productive manner possible. The full report can be found here

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