From: Richard Keefe [Email him]
After reviewing the Southern Poverty Law Center's tax records for the past three fiscal years, Watching The Watchdogs discovered that they routinely deceive tens of thousands of their donors every year through the use of third-party telemarketers.
Over those three years, third-party telemarketers raised $5.1 million dollars in donations in the name of the SPLC, no doubt promising the donors that their money would somehow be used to "fight hate."
Tax records reveal that the SPLC paid the telemarketers nearly $5.7 million for their efforts, meaning that the telemarketers not only kept every last dime they raised for the SPLC over the phone, they helped themselves to roughly $600,000 out of the company's existing donation pot to boot.
SPLC owner Morris Dees couldn't be happier about it. Here's why:
How can Mr. Dees condone this rampant hemorrhaging of desperately needed donor-dollars? To recycle the old vaudeville punchline: “He’ll make it up in volume.”
It’s simple. Dees isn’t hiring these telemarketers to “raise money” for the SPLC, regardless of what they say in their scripted telephone pitch. He’s paying them to identify new donors to feed into his own uber-efficient, in-house fundraising machine.
Think about it. As the SPLC’s IRS Schedule G returns indicate below, the measly $427,000 the SPLC received from the external telemarketers after expenses in 2010 represents a mere 1.3% of the $32 million Mr. Dees’ in-house fundraisers raked in that year.
That’s chump change, like a five-dollar bill you find in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in a while.
The real money will come from future donations from these people over the coming years, of which the SPLC gets to keep 100%.
It’s a beautiful system when you think about it because it not only makes millions for the SPLC down the road, but it’s paid for entirely by the gullible donors themselves!
“Sound stewardship” doesn’t get any better than this.[Emphasis in original]
The SPLC’s Sketchy Telemarketing Tricks, [Watching The Watchdogs, January 27, 2015]
See earlier letters from Richard Keefe.
James Fulford writes: Thanks for the update. Normally I’d refer our readers for further details on the $PLC to the writings of Patrick Cleburne (here and here) but because it's the tenth anniversary of Sam Francis’s death, I’ll refer readers to four of Sam’s columns on what the SPLC does wrong: