This time of year, those giving to charities can blindly believe the majority of the funds are going to the needy. Many charities that hire phone solicitors -- unbeknownst to many Americans -- keep as much as 85 percent of the donations to pay for salaries, rent, profit, and administrative costs, leaving only pennies for the needy.
The general rule of thumb, according to the national Better Business Bureau, is that a charity should give 65 percent of its donations to its targeted, needy group. But a very small number of charities quality for that distinction. It's unfortunate that so many of the police- and firefighter-sponsored charities have high solicitation costs but very little money is actually donated.
The Internet is a great source for exposing these charities that are taking advantage of all of us. It's also distressing that giving to one charity can mean your name is being sold to a number of others as a money-giving target, and you then begin to receive multiple blind requests.
The point is, when contacted, ask how much actually is donated and request the caller send something in writing to confirm it. And ask if they are a solicitor, representing a group.
If they are working as solicitors, you more than likely are in a low-donation group. If they refuse to send you confirmation in writing, hang up.
Hilton Head Island