North Carolinians were more generous in their giving to charities in the state this past year.

According to the recently released 2022-23 North Carolina Secretary of State Charitable Solicitation Licensing (CSL) Annual Report, licensed fundraisers collected over $58 million for charities between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, an increase of $10.4 million from overall giving in the state in 2021-2022.

About $43.8 million of the over $58 million went directly to the charities for their programs, a $4.9 million increase. The remainder went to fundraising and administrative costs. 

The Secretary of State’s Office noted that although it regulates fundraising activity pursuant to federal case law, it cannot legally penalize a charity for using most of its donations on fundraising or administrative overhead. 

“While we saw a slight drop from last year’s record high aggregate percentage of donors’ charitable dollars going to charities, the total dollar amount going directly to charities’ programs still grew by nearly $5 million,” Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said in a press release. “As people continue to contend with the effects of global inflation, so many charities are doing vital work for people in need and struggling to meet the demand with donations. I thank all of those nonprofits that are doing good work and encourage North Carolina’s giving public to use our Annual Report and Charitable Solicitation registry to research nonprofits as they make decisions with their charitable donations this holiday season and all year round.”

This past year’s numbers, she said, were also impacted by fewer nonprofits reporting fundraising campaigns related to civic issues and economic development.

Marshall released the report last week at the Volunteer and Donation Center for Note in the Pocket, Raleigh. The agency takes referrals from school social workers and human service agencies in the Triangle to distribute clothing to children and families experiencing homelessness and economic hardship. Marshall said the organization has seen a 70% increase in the number of clothing requests it receives from referring agencies in the past two years. 

The annual report is only a “snapshot” of giving under North Carolina’s Charitable Solicitations statute (§ 131F) and is not a comprehensive view of all charitable giving in the state.

The office licenses charities and nonprofit organizations that use professional fundraising services for their solicitation campaigns, compensate their officers, or raise at least $50,000 and are not exempt from state law for reasons such as being a religious institution, volunteer fire department, or educational institution. 

The report did, however, show a downturn in the numbers reported from national fundraising campaigns that included North Carolina donors.

Multi-state campaigns using professional fundraisers took in over $1.09 billion, a decrease of $139.8 million from overall funds raised in 2021-2022. About 81.57% of each charitable dollar to these national fundraising campaigns went to charities after fundraising and administrative costs, compared to 85.12% last year that went to charities in national fundraising campaigns.

Marshall encouraged everyone to take a look at the report to see what charities actually took in for their programs before fundraising and administrative costs.  

“It’s always a good idea to check out the numbers over the past two or three years for charities you’re interested in supporting,” she said. “There may be many reasons for a low percentage going to a charity in a given year, such as fundraising campaigns beginning near the end of the reporting period. Never hesitate to ask questions and look for the most effective charities working to address the causes you care about.”

People with questions about individual charities or charitable solicitation activities, in general, can call the Secretary of State’s Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division at 1-888-830-4989.