'Tis the season for giving, and New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs wants to help citizens know where to give. The division keeps a bimonthly tally of the top 10 "most inquired about" charities and is providing basic financial information about them.
The charities are based on calls to the division's hotline, which division director Thomas Calcagini says may indicate that the charity has been conducting a campaign drive. The financial information provided is derived from annual registration data provided to the state, and outlines how much the charity spends on actual program expenses vs. administration or fundraising.
Those differences can be significant. For instance, this month the NJ Police Officers Foundation is listed. That organization spends 87 percent of every dollar on fundraising, 2 percent on administration, and only 11 percent on fundraising. Smiletrain, which repairs cleft lips and palates for children worldwide, spends only 22 percent on fundraising and administration and 78 percent on the program itself.
Information on all charities registered in New Jersey is available online.