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August 29, 2013

Police unions switch to in-house fundraising

Unions for Otsego County deputies and corrections officers are doing fundraising themselves this year instead of hiring a firm so that more of the money collected can be returned to the community.

“We just try to help them out,” said Sgt. Jack Wilkens, president of the Otsego County Sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association.

The Deputy Sheriff’s PBA, the Criminal Division Road Patrol, and the Sheriff’s Benevolent Association, which is the Corrections Division, are working jointly to raise money, Wilkens said.

About 20,000 fliers seeking contributions and explaining changes have been mailed since June to seek contributions, Wilkens said, and about another 6,000 will be sent out later.

The decision was made about a year ago to conduct fundraising projects in-house instead of hiring an advertising firm to do the work, Wilkens said.

The advertising firm took a significant portion of the money it raised, Wilkens said, and the change in fundraising methods will mean that more of funds raised can go to local groups.

In December, the state Attorney General issued “Pennies for Charity: Where Your Money Goes.” The annual report on telemarketing said too much money was spent on fees and expenses and too little on charity. In nearly eight of 10 fundraising campaigns in 2011, charities retained less than 50 percent of contributions raised, the report said.

The report said in the Central New York and Western Adirondacks region, which includes Otsego and Chenango counties, the gross amount raised in 2011 was $1.06 million — of which 33.48 percent went to the charities.

According to an interim report filed with the state, Community Advertising Inc. raised $52,285 for Otsego County Deputy Sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association, which received a net amount of $18,299.75, or 35 percent.

Community Advertising Inc., raised $53,095 for the Oneonta Police Benevolent Association, which netted $20,176.01, or 38 percent, the Attorney General’s report said.

Community Advertising raised $45,090 for the Chenango County Law Enforcement Association, which retained $15,781.50, or 35 percent, the report said.

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