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DMANF Statement: Response to NY Charity Report
WASHINGTON, December 22, 2005 – The Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation (DMANF) today is reviewing a just-released report from New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer’s office that attempts to measure nonprofit efficiency based on a sample of telemarketing campaigns in the state of New York. We are pleased to note that the report acknowledges there are legitimate instances where the financial efficiency of a specific campaign does not tell the full story.
According to the report, in 2004, nonprofit organizations used telephone solicitations to collect $63.5 million for worthy causes in New York. Telephone remains a successful and efficient method for charities to raise funds and build awareness.
We agree with NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer that it is incumbent upon nonprofit organizations to solicit bids in advance of contracting out with a professional fundraiser. However, the decision by a nonprofit to work with a professional fundraiser must be based on the specific goals and objectives, which may range from advocating, to raising funds, to building awareness, or educating the general public on important matters.
In many instances solicitations are made for purposes beyond just fundraising, as Attorney General Spitzer points out in his report's CAVEATS, listed below. There are reasons why some campaigns may be more financially successful than others.
"CAVEATS: In reviewing the data in this report, the reader should keep in mind several factors that may affect fundraising costs. Identifying new donors may be more time consuming and thus more expensive than contacting prior contributors. An organization may conduct a telemarketing campaign simply to test-market new fundraising ideas without any certainty that its campaign will prove efficient and productive. An organization may also achieve goals other than raising funds - such as public education or recruitment of volunteers - at the same time that it is conducting a fundraising campaign. These and perhaps other benefits will not necessarily be reflected in the revenue received by the charity.
A newly created charity or one advocating new programs or new ideas may experience greater fundraising costs without any certainty that its campaign will prove cost effective. The reader should also keep in mind that amounts raised in a particular telemarketing campaign may represent only a small part of a charity’s fundraising activity and, therefore, may not provide donors with a complete picture of a charity’s overall fundraising. Donors are urged to review the entire annual financial report of a charity when considering making a contribution and should not rely solely on this report when making such decisions."
The DMANF strongly believes that donating public should always blend caution with its generosity. The following are some guidelines to help consumers choose wisely when making decisions about charitable donations.
About The DMA Nonprofit Federation:
Since 1982, the DMA Nonprofit Federation (DMANF) and its predecessor organizations have been aggressive and effective advocates for nonprofits in postal, regulatory, legislative, and accountability issues. The Federation is the premier agent for improving public awareness and receptivity to direct/interactive marketing-driven philanthropy, and is the ‘top brand’ among all associations and advocacy groups working on behalf of nonprofits in this area. With more than 300 members, The DMANF is one of the largest member segments of the Direct Marketing Association and is the leading association for member organizations that use direct and interactive marketing media such as mail, telephone, and the Internet to communicate with donors, members, customers, and the public. The DMANF's full-time staff, located in Washington, DC, is assisted by legal counsel for regulatory and postal matters, and supplemented by the resources and professional staff of the DMA.