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Telemarketers -- target seniors -- kept 62% of NY donations

  |   March 3, 2014 at 4:58 PM
ALBANY, N.Y., March 3 (UPI) -- In 2012, New York charities raised nearly $249 million, but telemarketers kept about 62 percent of the donations, the state attorney general says.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in the past 11 years, charities never retained more than 41.7 percent of the funds raised by telemarketers in any given year.

Often telemarketers target seniors or the disabled because they are home, answer the phone and are usually socially isolated and eager to speak with people because they are lonely. However, many are on fixed incomes and these donations are a real sacrifice that eats into funds needed for healthcare, food, prescriptions and heat.

Charities in New York City received the highest rate of return, with telemarketing campaigns taking in $42 million and returning $22 million, or 53.9 percent, while Long Island organizations fared the worst, pulling in a gross of $8 million and a net of $2 million or 25 percent, the Albany Times Union reported.

"New Yorkers who open their hearts and wallets deserve to know how their hard-earned dollars are being spent and how much of their money is going to pay telemarketers' salaries and costs," Schneiderman said in a statement.

Some of the non-profit groups with the worst percentage of money to the charity and fundraising expenses are law enforcement and veterans groups -- two areas that seniors are apt to donate.

For example, the Department of New York Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States collected 15 percent from the fundraising money, the Police Conference of New York also gained 15 percent and the state Association of Chiefs of Police received 20 percent.

For those considered a donation via a telemarketer, Schneiderman advises asking the caller making the solicitation to describe the programs conducted by the charity, how much of a donation will be used for those programs, how much the telemarketer is being paid and how much if any of a donation the charity is guaranteed to receive.

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