BLOG: Most Inquired-About Charities

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By Jim Donovan:  As the holidays remind us to think of those in need, and the time for year-end tax deductible charitable gifts approaches, the New Jersey State Division of Consumer Affairs is reminding consumers to investigate before you donate.

For example during its most recent fiscal year the New Jersey Police Officers Foundation spent 87 cents of every dollar donated to do additional fundraising.  Only 11 cents of each dollar went toward the organization’s stated mission to provide support to other charities.

By contrast, only 5 cents of of each dollar donated to the Christian Appalachian Project spent during its most recently reported fiscal year was used for fundraising.  91 cents went toward the group’s stated mission to provide physical, spiritual, and emotional support to poverty-stricken residents of the Appalachian region.

Big difference huh?

So today The Division of Consumer Affairs released the latest list of New Jersey’s Top 10 Most Inquired-About Charities.  A high number of inquiries may mean a charity solicited donations or held a campaign drive during the months in question.

Here they are:  (those with the highest percentage of money spent on program expenses are the charities that give you the most bang for your donated buck) 

New Jersey Police Officers Association, of Lyndhurst  
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 12/31/2010: $931,126 Charitable program expenses: 10.8 percent Fundraising expenses: 87 percent Management and general expenses: 2.1 percent

PAL of New Jersey, of Freehold
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 12/31/2009: $996,676 Charitable program expenses: 39.6 percent Fundraising expenses: 50 percent Management and general expenses: 10.4 percent

Paralyzed Veterans of America, of Washington, D.C.
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 12/21/2010: $110,781,205 Charitable program expenses: 60 percent Fundraising expenses: 31.8 percent Management and general expenses: 8.3 percent

Wounded Warrior Project, of Jacksonville, Florida.
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 9/30/2010: $34,843,801 Charitable program expenses: 64.1 percent Fundraising expenses: 28.3 percent Management and general expenses: 7.7 percent

Help Hospitalized Veterans, of Winchester, California.
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 7/31/2010: $37,837,593 Charitable program expenses: 64.5 percent Fundraising expenses: 27.5 percent Management and general expenses: 8 percent

Breast Cancer Society of America, of Mesa, Arizona.
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 12/31/2010: $47,985,521 Charitable program expenses: 69.8 percent Fundraising Expenses: 29.5 percent Management and general expenses: 0.7 percent \

Smile Train, of New York, New York.
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 6/30/2010: $86,267,187 Charitable program expenses: 78 percent Fundraising expenses: 21 percent Management and general expenses: 0.9 percent

United Service Organizations, of Arlington, Virginia.
 Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 12/31/2010: $174,716,310 Charitable program expenses: 79.3 percent Fundraising expenses: 13.5 percent Management and general expenses: 7.2 percent

Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 12/31/2010 Charitable program expenses: 85.5 percent Fundraising expenses: 10 percent Management and general expenses: 4.5 percent

Christian Appalachian Project, of Lexington, Kentucky.
Total expenses for the fiscal year ending 8/31/10: $132,680,466 Charitable program expenses: 90.6 percent Fundraising expenses: 5.1 percent Management and general expenses: 4.3 percent.

If you have any questions about a charity that you are donating to, you can contact The State Division of Consumer Affairs Division’s Charities Hotline at 973-504-6215 during regular business hours or visit www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov

By the way,  The Better Business Bureau’s Standards for Charity Accountability state that a charity should dedicate at least 65 percent of its expenses toward program activities, and no more than 35 percent toward fundraising.

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