May 17th, 2012
10:34 PM ET

Tax records show charities spent millions on direct mail

If you've ever wondered how much money charities spend mailing you those glossy brochures and free address labels along with their request for a donation, the answer might surprise you.

CNN has found that this type of direct-mail marketing cost two veterans charities tens of millions of dollars.

Los Angeles-based National Veterans Foundation raised more than $22 million in donations over the past three years to help veterans, yet spent approximately $18.2 million paying its direct mail fund-raisers, according to IRS 990 forms.

For nearly a year, the charity has been trying - without success - to get out of its contract with Brickmill Marketing and its parent company, Quadriga Art, according to NVF's Rich Rudnick.

"We were told for two years it would be very expensive, then we'd be going into the black," Rudnick told CNN. "That never happened."


soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Katie

    Check out Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)...pretty much the same deal as this "non-profit." Hundreds of millions in donations and less than 1/2 of 1 % to any actual animal care...millions to lobbying (which is illegal for non-profits to engage in in any substantive fashion, since their money is tax free they have no business influencing government public policy), pensions and fundraising, including to this same fund-raising firm named here. Nothing but playing on people's emotions and love of animals to line their own pockets and push their radical animal "rights" (very different than animal welfare) agenda. These so called "non-profits" are every bit as corrupt, if not more, than for profit businesses. At least for profit businesses are honest about what they are about.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  2. alantingle

    This is great reporting on an important issue.

    It has been stated over the past several reports, that nothing can be done to curb these practices. What if there was legislation, that simply required all tax exempt charities to disclose the percentage a donation that goes to operating costs (e.g. salaries, marketing, rent, etc) at the time of solicitation.

    This would allow the contributors to understand at the time of the "sales pitch" how affective their donation might be.

    May 17, 2012 at 11:00 pm |