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Attorney General Releases Paid Fundraiser Report

CONTACT: William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, (802) 828-3173

December 7, 2009

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office has released a report on charitable campaigns conducted by paid fundraiser in Vermont during the period July 2006 through June 2009. Summarizing the results of 497 campaigns at a Montpelier press conference today, Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell noted that of $8.4 million raised, 67.8 percent, or $5.7 million, went to the fundraisers; the remaining 32.2 percent, or $2.7 million, went to the charities. In 85 campaigns, the fundraiser received more than 80 percent of the dollars contributed. Fundraising campaigns conducted by charities themselves are not covered in the report.

In light of the large share of donations that are retained by paid fundraisers, Attorney General Sorrell stressed the importance to donors of knowing where their charitable dollars are going. “Vermonters should give generously,” he said, “but give wisely. Be informed about who is getting what portion of each donated dollar.” He also noted that charities would be well advised to hire, if at all, the fundraiser who can maximize the charity’s percentage of the contributions received.

Vermonters can and should seek out information about any charity and its paid fundraiser (if it has one) before making a donation: check the charity’s website, and request a brochure or other document explaining the mission of the charity and how contributions are used. The breakdown of contributions between fundraisers and charities - Sorted by Fundraiser or Sorted by Charity - can also be accessed on the Attorney General’s website, as can links to various organizations that rate charities based on various factors, including their fundraising expenses.

For more information, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program at 1-800-649-2424. See also the summary of the report.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.