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In addition to the information provided in this report, the
Secretary of State’s electronic charities database contains annually updated
disclosure information filed by 10,452 charitable organizations, 176 paid
solicitors, and 60 professional fundraising consultants (totals as of November 30,
2012). These registration statements
include basic identifying information about each registered entity, such as its
location, legal entity status, place and date of formation, and executive
personnel. Each charitable organization
describes its charitable purpose, lists the composition of its board of
directors, discloses its federal tax-exempt status, and files an annual financial
statement listing revenues and expenses. Consumers are strongly encouraged to
review these filings and to check an organization’s current status before
deciding whether a particular organization is worthy of support.
Additional information can be requested from a charity
directly. For example, the organization
may publish its own annual report containing a detailed financial statement and
other educational material concerning its mission and program services. Most charitable organizations registered with
the Secretary of State also file a federal Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N annual
information return with the Internal Revenue Service, and some file a Form
990-PF or Form 990-T. If so, they are
required by federal law to provide a copy of such forms as well as a copy of
their IRS tax-exempt application upon request.
More specific information regarding the federal public disclosure
requirement is available at the IRS
Public Disclosure Overview.
Collectively, these sources of information help answer one
of the most frequently asked questions among potential donors - "Where does my donation go?"
Evaluating results of solicitation campaigns
A charity’s total fundraising costs might not resemble those
of a particular campaign directed by a paid solicitor, so it is important to
view any solicitation campaign in context.
As long as the solicitation campaign results are considered alongside
the overall financial information in a charitable organization’s annual
registration statements, the information in the Secretary of State’s Annual Report on Charitable Solicitations
can provide valuable insights.
Consistently high fundraising costs may be a cause for concern and
warrant a closer look by donors.
Here are some questions a person might ask that could
provide more perspective to an individual fundraising campaign:
- Is the purpose of the
campaign simply to raise as much money as possible, to acquire new donors
for the future, to reinstate lapsed donors, or is it for some other
purpose, which is merely a part of the overall fundraising strategy?
- Does the solicitation
campaign directly serve some other program purpose of the charity beyond
the raising of funds in this particular solicitation campaign?
- Are there other sources of
- Has the organization
conducted similar campaigns in the past?
Is this a newly-created organization?
- Are there donor
restrictions on the use of funds, exceptional bequests, or a stigma
associated with a cause and environmental or political events beyond an
The information in the Annual
Report on Charitable Solicitations provides important clues as to whether
or not donations solicited by professional fundraisers are being used as donors
intended. While most donors understand
that fundraising entails costs, many are not aware of the amount of those costs
for a particular solicitation campaign, nor do they have an objective standard
in mind regarding appropriate fundraising costs.
Description of annual report data tables
The financial information summarized in the tables below is
information that was on file with the Secretary of State’s Office as of
November 30, 2012 at 11:59 PM. Since
financial reports are due by the 15th day of the fifth month
following the close of an organization’s fiscal year, the due dates vary. Nevertheless, the last 2011 reports due were
those of calendar year organizations, whose accounting periods ended on December
31, 2011. The initial due date for
calendar year organizations was May 15, 2012.
Since up to two extensions of the deadline could be requested by a
charitable organization (three months each), all 2011 financial reports were
due by November 15, 2012, at the latest. The number of organizations listed in
Table 11 is less than the total number of charities in the registry, because
many charities are overdue with their filings.
Any organization that has not yet reported on a fiscal year that ended
in 2011 is now delinquent or suspended. If it
is suspended, it should not be soliciting contributions from the public until
its filings are brought up to date.
For a number of reasons, it is also possible that a
charitable organization could be registered now, despite not being listed in
Table 11 or Table 12. Similarly, an
organization listed in this report may have had its registration withdrawn,
suspended, or revoked since publication, so the reader is encouraged to visit www.checkthecharity.com for the most
current information on any charitable organization.
The information summarized in the annual report reflects the
general financial condition and overall solicitation campaign results of
charitable organizations registered to solicit contributions in Colorado. The totals do not reflect activity in
Colorado alone. More specifically, "Total Contributions" as listed in the
Tables 11 and 12 does not reflect total donations by Coloradans. Such information on total donations by
Colorado residents must be culled from data contained in individual federal
income tax returns, which can be found on the Internal Revenue Service’s web
site (www.irs.gov) in the "Statistic of Income Bulletin."