It was unconscionable that the Beacon Journal published an article full of mischaracterizations and false statements (“Telemarketer takes a big cut of donations,” Sept. 13).
The important fact is, all nonprofit organizations need to raise money which is essential to their success and all the good works they accomplish. At InfoCision, we support their missions by carrying the majority of the costs of fundraising for them. InfoCision does not keep the money raised. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Each charity has an annual budget goal to raise a certain amount; let’s say x-million dollars. On average, an organization will budget 25 percent of the total raised for administrative, fundraising and other marketing costs. The remaining 75 percent always is used by the organization for the critical programs and services they provide so well.
InfoCision is paid out of the budget for fundraising, plain and simple. We bill the client for our costs, then pay all our wonderful 4,400 employees, for facilities, phone bills, technology, mailings and other items, and as a business strive for a 10 percent margin — although in the economic climate of the past few years, we have struggled to reach this target.
For 30 years, InfoCision has been a partner with the largest and most reputable nonprofit organizations in the world. If the calls we make for charities were unsuccessful for them and if they were unhappy, we would not be able to continue representing them, nor would they want us to represent them.
The campaigns mentioned in the article were all designed as donor acquisition appeals to break even upfront. Without proactively attempting to acquire new members, any charity will ultimately lose its membership through normal attrition and in time may no longer exist. Once a new member has been acquired, all their subsequent contributions will provide significant net return to the client over time and more than pay for the initial cost to bring them on.
All our neighbor-to-neighbor campaigns recruiting volunteers provide a much-needed educational and outreach mission in which, for example, diabetes tests, cancer prevention or the signs of a stroke information kits are distributed to millions of families to increase awareness of risk factors and improve their overall health.
There is no net return anticipated from these types of campaigns because it is all about getting information into the hands of people who need it.
Think about all the research and all the good being done by the world’s leading health organizations to fight disease, leukemia, heart conditions, diabetes, cancer. We help all these causes.
Without telephone prospecting bringing on new donors and volunteers, the mission could not be accomplished. For-profit businesses roll out similar new customer acquisition campaigns all the time, such as free giveaways of sample products.
Consumers don’t question this strategy even though it drives up marketing costs. Stores use what are called loss-leaders to get people through their doors. They will take a loss, say, on a gallon of milk in hope the consumer will purchase other marked-up items in the same trip and become a regular customer because of their shopping experience.
Charities do many different types of fundraising campaigns each year. Isolating just one individual campaign’s report filed with a state attorney general gives a distorted and confusing view. To find out how much a nonprofit organization commits to its core mission, review the nonprofit’s Form 990 filed each year with the IRS, which provides a comprehensive summary of the way an organization uses all the funds entrusted to it.
Our message is honest and clear. Any deception comes from the reporter’s story. This type of irresponsible journalism seeks to hurt those valuable national charitable organizations that do so much good. They are our clients and we are proud to be their partner.
Chief of staff
InfoCision Management Corp.
Beard-cutters’ hateful crime
Contrary to Noah Feldman’s assertion, a successful hate-crime prosecution of members of one Amish sect who targeted another sect would not constitute “a defeat for religious and civil liberty” (“Beard-cutting is horrid. It isn’t a hate crime,” Beacon Journal, Sept. 10).
This case is not about anyone’s religious liberty; nor does it constitute “a potentially harmful extension of the original hate-crimes law.” It is about targeting someone because of his religion or religious practices.
Intra-religious hate-crimes prosecutions are very rare; religion-based hate crimes usually involve targeted violence or vandalism by members of one religious group against members of another. But there is nothing in the language of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) that limits its reach to just those acts of violence.
Furthermore, Feldman’s concerns about overprosecution of intra-religious hate crimes are misplaced. The vast majority of hate-crimes prosecutions are carried out by state and local officials, who have always had authority to prosecute intra-religious hate crimes under their statutes — and have almost never done so.
In addition, since the enactment of the HCPA in October 2009, the Justice Department has brought about a dozen cases under the act — only one of which involves intra-religious violence. According to the FBI, over 6,600 hate crimes — more than 1,300 on the basis of religion — were reported in 2010 alone. There is no reason to draw a conclusion from this unique case that the Justice Department is now going to depart from its decades-long record of restraint and deference to local officials in prosecuting hate crimes.
We cannot outlaw hate — but laws shape attitudes. And attitudes influence behavior. Targeting a person for a violent crime because of his or her religion or religious practice, regardless of whether the perpetrator is of the same religion, should be considered a hate crime.
Anti-Defamation League, Ohio/ Kentucky/Allegheny Region
Problem of timing with voter ID
In regard to the Sept. 11 letter “What’s wrong with voter ID?” by Tom Eichler, there is nothing wrong with voter ID. The problem is the demand that voters have these IDs before the November election. This unfairly targets Democratic voters, many of whom until now did not need IDs to vote. At least 30 states have tried to change the laws to favor Republican voters. Polling stations have been cut, and fewer people are working the election centers to help people seeking state-approved IDs to get them in time for the election.
There would not be such an uproar if the deadline was moved back until after the general election, but Republican-controlled states are not willing to concede this because they are using these changes to give an edge to Republican candidates.
Obama’s America: 2016 is a venomously dishonest “mockumentary” doing great business playing to right-wingers seeking validation of their pathological loathing of President Obama.
Filmmaker Dinesh D’ Sousza has a deep, abiding and unashamed hatred for the president. His film preaches to the like-minded about what constitutes Obama’s motivation, as if he were a mind-reader. D’Souza is an unprincipled liar. His film was eviscerated by Associated Press fact-checkers. Sadly, the haters of the right won’t allow facts to keep them from supporting this film and believing every specious claim it makes.
Harmful impact of digital billboards
The Akron Garden Club has opposed billboard proliferation for many years.
Our organization is committed to keeping Akron beautiful and was surprised that the city approved Clear Channel’s plan to add five new digital billboards to our landscape.
The citizens who will have this ugliness added to their neighborhoods should be outraged. They may not be aware of the impact both on safety and property values.
We are waiting for the Federal Highway Administration to release its study on the safety impact of digital billboards. The only safety studies available were sponsored by the billboard industry. It might be wise to consider the potential danger at the busy intersections chosen for these new signs: North Main Street and Tallmadge Avenue, East Market and Arlington and a triangular (three-sided) sign at Brittain Road and Tallmadge Avenue. If the city finds these signs are a hazard and the federal study shows them to have an impact on safety, lawsuits from accidents and the cost of removing these digital billboards would be very expensive to the city and its residents.
Finally, the city has not completed a revision of its land-use plan since 1987.
With all the potential for new neighborhood improvements such as the University Park Alliance, it’s time to take a new look at any decisions that will detract from making Akron a beautiful place to live.
President, Akron Garden Club