Charity Program Keeps Expenses Low, Donations High

How much money do charity runs really raise?

By Paul Krueger
|  Thursday, Jun 16, 2011  |  Updated 8:17 AM PDT
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Various expenses can subtract portions of contributions.

Various expenses can subtract portions of contributions.

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Hundred of walkers will gather this weekend in Coronado to raise money for a good cause. The “Team in Training” charity program provides instruction to runners and walkers with help from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

But how much money do charity events really raise for the organizations they're helping?

A charity "watchdog" group reported a breast-cancer walk-a-thon — organized by the Avon Foundation for Women — spends 52-cents of every dollar raised for expenses, meaning less than half of the donations are actually used for breast cancer research and care.

Dana Asis, who directs the “Team in Training” program, said the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society keeps expenses to a minimum. Roughly 75 percent of the proceeds from its training programs go to patient care and research.

"So we don't spend money on TV and radio, it's all word of mouth with our 15 thousand alumni that we have here,” Asis said.

But not all charity events are so frugal. According to the Wall Street Journal, half, or even more, of the money raised for a typical run or walk-a-thon goes to expenses.

"There's permitting fees, there's police fees to things, there's trash pick-up, that you have to pay for,” Asis said.

Asis said charities should minimize those costs, but fundraisers say these special events have a pay-off, for their added expense.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society creates awareness and marketing for their program simply with its members wearing their jerseys.

"It's a huge thing for us, having 15 thousand people wearing our jerseys every weekend while they're out there,” Asis said.

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