Attorney General Hardy Myers today released a report profiling the organizations that generated the most inquiries over the past year to the Oregon Department of Justice Charitable Activities Section.
"Donors expect that the majority of funds they contribute will be spent to fulfill charitable purposes," Myers said. "This report demonstrates that some charities fail to meet those expectations."
A recent study commissioned by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance reveals that three out of four Americans believe that program service expenses should comprise over 70% of total charitable spending. Of the 20 organizations profiled in the Department's report, "Charitable Giving; It Makes a Difference," only two organizations attain that goal.
The information included in the report was gleaned from tax returns filed with the Department of Justice. Expenditures made over the course of the reporting period were selected as the figures that best represent organizational efficiency. In addition to total expenses, the report includes expenditures on fund raising, management and total programs and the percentage of total expenditures each category represents.
The report also profiles five local organizations for comparison purposes. These organizations all meet the standards established by charity watchdog groups.
The data reveals the tremendous expenditure variance among organizations. Fund raising expenses, for example, vary from a high of 88.9% of total expenses to a low of 1.9%. Total program expenses, were correspondingly reported from a high of 94.6% to a low of 6.1%.
"While the charitable response to September 11 relief efforts is without precedent, many local charities are experiencing reduced contributions and greater demand due to increasing unemployment, " Myers said. "In this climate, it is essential that Oregonians have up-to-date information so that they can maximize the value of their charitable contributions."
The Charitable Activities Section of the Oregon Department of Justice, which maintains financial information on over 11,000 charities, welcomes inquiries both on-line at www.doj.state.or.us and by phone at (503) 229-5725 and encourages Oregonians to give generously and wisely.
Charitable Giving; It Makes a Difference will be available on the "Hot Topics" page of the Department of Justice web site: (Please note that the 2000 report remains available for comparison purposes.)
For a copy of the report, or for additional information:
Victoria Cox, (971) 673-1880