Nonprofit groups with ties to law enforcement have your number and they’re dialing it this Christmas. The Dallas Morning News found that several charities have spent up to 89 percent of the money they collect on telemarketers, cutting deeply into what they can spend on programs. “When your spending is upside down like that, you would have to ask yourself as a consumer, ‘Are they a telemarketing organization or are they legitimately representing the concerns of law-enforcement officers?’ ” said Charley Wilkison of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.
Some of the groups say it is expensive to raise money and that telemarketing provides them the means to offer training and services to those in law enforcement. Texas is among about a dozen states that don’t require charities to register with the state if they solicit for funds. A decade ago, Texas attempted to crack down on scams by passing a law that requires organizations that solicit for law-enforcement causes to register annually with the state attorney general. The Better Business Bureau and the American Institute of Philanthropy recommend that charities spend no more than 35 percent of their money on fundraising.