Reserve Police Officers Association DBA Association for Deputy Sheriffs

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THE WORST CHARITIES, RANKED BY MONEY BLOWN ON SOLICITING COSTS

The article goes on to say:

Over the past decade, Reserve Police Officers Association has raised $8.7 million in donations by promising to support volunteer police departments.

Of every dollar given, Reserve Police has paid 90 cents to the professional solicitors it hires to call potential donors. On average, the group has spent less than $10,000 a year on cash grants and equipment for police departments.

The fraction of donations that the group keeps pays for legal fees, travel, a website and a conference that attracts about a dozen police departments.

Brooke Webster, the group’s president, said because there are no paid employees, Reserve Police has no choice but to rely on professionals to raise money. Webster, who was formerly an auxiliary police officer, works full time as a sales manager for a hotel in Manhattan.

“The amount we get from fundraisers stacks up pretty well to other nonprofits,” Webster said. “Reserve Police is difficult to sell to the public. People know what volunteer firefighters are, but not volunteer police.”

The group’s use of professional fundraisers has led to problems with regulators, however. One of its telemarketers closed in 2011 after Iowa regulators accused it of misleading donors. Two years earlier, Reserve Police Officers paid a $1,000 fine and agreed to stop soliciting in Washington state after regulators learned it was not registered there. The investigation began after a Washington resident complained about repeated phone calls from solicitors seeking money for the association.

Webster said a few problems are inevitable.

“You would not be able to run call rooms in all 50 states and not have regulator problems,” he said. “Regulators make it so hard for fundraisers.”

Reserve Police Officers Association is one of five groups on the Times/CIR list that is tax-exempt under IRS code but not as traditional 501c(3) charity. These groups still must register with state regulators to solicit donations, but the donations are not tax deductible. All five rely heavily on professional telemarketing companies to raise money.