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Some charities help themselves instead of needy

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Some non-profit organizations in New Jersey that invoke the name of law enforcement for fundraising — among them, the Garden State Law Enforcement Officers Association — aren’t as charitable as others, spending less than a quarter of every dollar to directly help people, state Division of Consumer Affairs officials said this morning.

At the same time, other charities registered to solicit in New Jersey dedicate much more of their expenses to programs that support their stated mission — such as the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation, which dedicated 85 cents of each dollar spent in its last fiscal year toward programs assisting young cancer patients and their families.

The center spent only 10 cents per dollar on fundraising and the remaining 5 cents on management and general costs, DCA officials said.

During a season when many of us are thinking about those in need — and a time when year-end tax-deductible charitable gifts approaches — the DCA is reminding consumers to learn how a charity intends on spending your money before you hand over a nickel.

“Especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, when so many New Jerseyans are looking for meaningful ways to help their fellow residents, it is important to investigate before you donate,” state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.

Continuing an ongoing trend of making non-profit organizations transparent, the Division today released pie charts illustrating how money is spent by: New Jersey’s Top 10 Most Inquired-About Charities

The list provides information on the 10 charities most often asked about by consumers who called the DCA’s Charities Registration Hotline during the six-month period from May through November 2012. A high number of inquiries may mean a charity solicited donations or held a campaign drive during the months in question.

Garden State Law Enforcement Officers Association, of Manalapan

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011: $249,087

Charitable program expenses: 21.4 percent
Fundraising expenses: 70.9 percent
Management and general expenses: 7.7 percent

Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, of Annandale, Virginia

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011: $42,785,416

Charitable program expenses: 36 percent
Fundraising expenses: 52.1 percent
Management and general expenses: 11.8 percent

Cancer Support Services, of Dearborn, Michigan

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2011: $10,663,091

Charitable program expenses: 49.6 percent
Fundraising expenses: 44.7 percent
Management and general expenses: 5.6 percent

Paralyzed Veterans of America, of Washington, DC

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011: $114,656,518

Charitable program expenses: 61.7 percent
Fundraising expenses: 31.4 percent
Management and general expenses: 6.9 percent

Disabled Veterans National Foundation, of Washington, DC

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2011: $31,085,165

Charitable program expenses: 63.2 percent
Fundraising expenses: 29.8 percent
Management and general expenses: 7 percent

Disabled American Veterans, of Cold Spring, Kentucky

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2011: $116,591,022

Charitable program expenses: 66.8 percent
Fundraising expenses: 27.8 percent
Management and general expenses: 5.4 percent

Wounded Warrior Project, of Jacksonville, Florida

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011: $58,399,545

Charitable program expenses: 67.1 percent
Fundraising expenses: 24.9 percent
Management and general expenses: 8 percent

United Service Organization, of Arlington, Virginia

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2011: $115,763,245

Charitable program expenses: 70.6 percent
Fundraising expenses: 17.9 percent
Management and general expenses: 11.5 percent

Humane Society of the United States, of Washington, DC

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2011: $129,217,427

Charitable program expenses: 77.8 percent
Fundraising expenses: 18.8 percent
Management and general costs: 3.4 percent

Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation d/b/a Cancer Recovery Foundation of America and Cancer Conquerors, of Harrisburg, PA

Total expenses for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2010: $9,064,686

Charitable fundraising expenses: 85.5 percent
Fundraising expenses: 10 percent
Management and general expenses: 4.5 percent

“Before giving your hard-earned money to a worthy cause, you owe it to yourself – and those you are seeking to help – to learn about the charity,” Chiesa said. “Find out how much of your money will go toward actual charitable activities, and how much will be spent on other costs such as fundraising. If you are not satisfied with the answers to these questions, take your donation somewhere else.”

To find out about a charity, call the DCA’s Charities Registration Hotline : 973-504-6215

The Better Business Bureau’s Standards for Charity Accountability say a charity should dedicate at least 65 percent of its expenses toward program activities, and no more than 35 percent toward fundraising. Consumers can compare that guideline with the expenditures reported by the charities for their most recent fiscal years.

“The State cannot require any nonprofit to spend more on actual charitable causes than it does on fundraising,” said Acting DCA Director Eric T. Kanefsky. “But we are fully committed to keeping charities transparent and accountable to the public.”

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