I doubt there are many amongst us who have not experienced the following: You are sitting down for a mid-evening meal, or perhaps settling in to watch an hour of television when the phone rings. At the other end of the line is someone calling on behalf of a charity, either one you currently patronize or one seeking your support. You do one of three things: you either agree to increase your support, say you can't give more, or agree to sponsor the new charity.
It may surprise you to know that in some cases, the person you have just dealt with is not necessarily a volunteer calling on behalf of the charity, but rather an employee of a professional fundraising company that will be receiving anywhere from 35 to 80% of your donation.
These startling facts were presented on last night's edition of C.B.C.'s The National in a report by Diana Swain. The value of the report lies not in discouraging us from contributing to worthwhile causes, but rather in allowing us to make better-informed decisions as to where to allot our philanthropic dollars.
The full report, with links to a searchable database breaking down the expenditures of registered charities, can be found on the C.B.C. website