SC Secretary of State Releases First-Annual Professional Solicitor Report“It is important for donors to know where their charitable dollars are going,” says Hammond.
As administrator of the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, Secretary Hammond regulates charitable fundraising in the state of South Carolina. Some charities employ professional or paid solicitors to raise money for them. At the end of a fundraising campaign, or each year of a multi-year campaign, a professional solicitor is required to file a joint financial report with the Division of Public Charities. The Professional Solicitor Report provides a comprehensive listing of the data provided in joint financial reports filed by professional solicitors during 2015.
Secretary Hammond noted that the Professional Solicitor Report provides different information than what is provided for charities on the Secretary of State’s website, or that which is highlighted during the Scrooges and Angels announcement each November. While those resources specifically focus on the percentage that charities spend on their charitable programs, the Professional Solicitor Report provides the percentage that charities receive from solicitation campaigns conducted by paid fundraisers.
“Professional fundraisers can provide a valuable service to charities by reaching out to donors on their behalf,” said Secretary Hammond. “Unfortunately, though, in many instances, professional solicitors will remit to the charity only a tiny fraction of the donations collected from contributors. For example, donors who receive a telephone solicitation may think that they are giving a $25.00 donation, when only $2.50 of that donation may reach the charity.”
The information provided in the Professional Solicitor Report reflects national campaigns, and is not necessarily limited to money raised in South Carolina. The Professional Solicitor Report also provides data on the types of fundraising used for each campaign. For example, based on the information reported, professional solicitors that operated telephone and direct mail campaigns remitted an average of 36.2% of gross receipts to their clients. Charitable organizations that employed bingo promoters received an average of only 1.61% of gross receipts. Accounting for all joint financial reports filed with the Secretary of State in 2015, 52.3% of gross receipts from professional solicitor campaigns went to charitable organizations.
Secretary Hammond stated that he intends to release the Professional Solicitor Report each year as a public service to South Carolina donors. He also reminded donors to contact the Division of Public Charities at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 734-1790 if they have any questions or concerns regarding a charitable organization or professional fundraiser. Additional information is available on the Secretary of State’s website.