February is designated as American Heart Month, a time when many local and national charities launch educational awareness campaigns on the importance of a healthy heart and the enormous toll that heart disease takes on families and communities.
It’s the perfect time to give to charities that are making important strides in helping heart patients and funding research.
Throughout February Middle Tennessee consumers received mailers offering free Heart Attack First Aid Kits from Heart Support of America, Inc. of Knoxville, TN, asking for donations of $10 to $25 dollars.
A Dickson Tennessee resident who contacted BBB about the solicitation said he felt the mailing was misleading in it’s statement “Our Records About You Are Incomplete. Confirmation Requested”
Here’s what BBB found out about Heart Support of America
Heart Support of America, provided information to the IRS that show the charity used professional fundraisers to raise about $7.5 million in donations from 2009 through 2011. Of that total ONLY $622,000, about 8%, was turned over to the charity and 90% of the donations raised on behalf of Heart Support of American went to two professional fundraising companies located in the same building, in McLean, VA.
The records also show that less than 3 cents of every donated dollar was used to provide direct assistance to heart patients or their families, or for grants to hospitals or other charitable heart organizations.
- High fundraising costs are a red flag for donor concern and reason to question the solicitation’s charitable purpose
- Beware of any charity that spends most of its income on fundraising, salaries and other overhead
- BBB charitable standards call for a charity to spend no more than 35 percent of related contributions on fundraising
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