BOSTON — In anticipation of “Giving Tuesday” and the upcoming holiday season, Attorney General Maura Healey advises residents to make informed decisions when donating to charities. The AG’s Office released a new bulletin showing that only 45 percent of the funds that professional solicitors raised on behalf of charities were transferred to charitable organizations in 2018.
“Massachusetts is home to many charities that do important work in our state, across the country, and around the world,” said AG Healey. “Residents should know how much of their donations will actually go to a charity. Be sure to do the research and make informed decisions about your giving in order to maximize the impact of your donation.”
Charitable organizations sometimes pay professional solicitors to solicit donations from the public, and solicitors are required by statute to register with the AG’s Office. Conventional professional solicitors fundraise through phone, mail and door-to-door campaigns. The 2018 Professional Solicitor Bulletin outlines the financial results conventional solicitors and charities report from campaigns conducted in Massachusetts.
In calendar year 2018, conventional professional solicitors collected more than $177 million in Massachusetts. While the amount kept by professional solicitors varied widely among solicitors, approximately $80.4 million ended up with the actual charities. The 2018 report is consistent with campaign reports from the last five years in which less than 50 percent of funds raised by professional solicitors were transferred to charities. This reflects a slight increase over 2017, when an average of 41 percent of every dollar that a professional solicitor raised went back to the charity.
The AG’s Office encourages potential donors to consider the following points when they are contacted by a professional solicitor:
Professional solicitors are required by law to disclose certain information when asked and may not mislead prospective donors or misrepresent facts. While the most effective means of preventing fraud is an educated donating public, the AG’s Office has a variety of tools to address deceptive practices. The AG’s Office maintains annual financial reports from charities and professional solicitors that operate in this state, which are available for public inspection online.
Individuals with inquiries or complaints about charitable solicitations should call the Attorney General's Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division at 617-963-2315, or access the complaint form online.