Each year, the South Carolina Secretary of State's Office releases a list of organizations that either earn the title "Scrooge" or "Angel" depending on the percentage of expenditures that actually go to program activities.
Wednesday, Secretary of State Mark Hammond recognized ten "Angels" at a news conference in Columbia.
Hammond says the "Angels" are organizations that exemplify charitable giving.
A Myrtle Beach charity, Associated Charities, was named to the "Angel" list for using 97.6% of its expenditures for program activities.
The other 2011 "Angels" are:
ACTS-Area Churches Together Serving, Inc., Aiken, SC 86.5%
Camp Discovery at His Acres, Inc., Blythewood, SC 96.2%
Carolina Wildlife Care, Inc., Columbia, SC 87%
Children's Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Inc., Spartanburg, SC 89.1%
DonorsChoose.org, New York City, NY 94.8%
Let There Be Mom Inc., Greenville, SC 92.2%
Project Host, Inc., Greenville, SC 91.8%
South Carolina STRONG, North Charleston, SC 98%
Support Our Troops, Daytona Beach, FL 98.3%
Even though some of the charities are out of state, they are registered in South Carolina to solicit funds in the Palmetto State.
Hammond also named a few "Scrooges," organizations that he says devote 40% or less of their expenditures to charitable programs and use a high percentage to pay professional solicitors.
We also had one "Scrooge" from our area on the list: South Carolina Professional Firefighters Association, of Myrtle Beach. Hammond says the charity only spends 24% of it's expenditures on actual programs.
The rest of the 2011 "Scrooge" list:
Cancer Survivors' Fund, Missouri City, TX 9.1%
Children's Leukemia Research Association, Inc., Garden City, NY 23.9%
Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center, Inc., Niceville, FL 7.5%
Foundation for American Veterans, Inc., West Bloomfield, MI 10.4%
Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library, Chicago, IL 32.7%
Law Enforcement Education Program, Inc., Troy, MI 2.9%
Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation of America, Milwaukie, OR 12.8%
Veterans of Foreign Wars, O.B. Rosseger Post #2779, Orangeburg, SC 4.9%
Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., Lauderdale Lakes, FL 3.1%
NewsChannel 15 contacted LeRoy Marcotte, the Secretary for South Carolina Professional Firefighters Association. He said the group doesn't belong on the list as a scrooge. Marcotte explained the organization contributes to several foundations and sends firefighters to training. He added they follow all state regulations.
Julie Kopnicky with the United Way encourages researching the organization before you donate, "First thing is, what are the services they are providing and how many people is that service reaching? How many people is it affecting? They also want to ask what the administration fee is. How much percentage goes to administration from a donation? How much actually goes toward that service? And, is the money staying local? Is all of their donations staying here or is some of it going to a national organization or outside of the area and why?"
If you're considering donating to charity, the Better Business Bureau suggests: don't give cash, write a check instead to the organization, don't give in to pressure to give on the spot, and ask about the organization's tax exempt status.
Secretary Hammond issued the following statement: "As Secretary of State, I have the duty of enforcing the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, and of protecting the public against 'Scrooge' organizations that want to take advantage of our giving spirit. Charitable solicitations across the state have increased in the last four years because more and more people are in need of assistance. Even though times are tough, South Carolinians continue to be some of the most generous people in the nation and always answer the call when it comes to defending and helping the less fortunate. However, there are those who would take advantage of our generosity. So I ask that you check out any organization before you contribute your hard-earned money. Please visit our Website; select the Charity Search button to learn a charity's total revenue, program expenses, total expenses, net assets, and fundraiser costs. We have even calculated the percentage of total expenses that the charity has devoted to its program services. You can also call our Charities Division at 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484) for more information."