American Lung Association Responds to Media Speculations on Charity Telemarketing Efforts

Washington, D.C. (September 12, 2012)

A recent Business Week article and clip on the Today Show examines telemarketing efforts by charities, including the American Lung Association, and unfortunately the news reports do a disservice to donors and charities by providing a narrow and misleading picture of this practice.

Like most charities, the Lung Association hires fundraising companies to conduct very specific and limited outreach. The Lung Association engaged InfoCision Management Corporation and Strategic Fundraising Inc. to make telephone calls to current and lapsed mail donors to encourage them to give again, as well as to acquire new donors. These companies are hired because the Lung Association does not have the infrastructure to do this work, as it is exceedingly expensive both from a personnel and logistics standpoint to contact tens of thousands of donors. This telemarketing practice is a strategic program to retain current donors, reactivate lapsed donors and acquire new donors.

These news reports suggest that charities only received a small percentage of the money raised from this endeavor. However, what the report does not include is how this investment fares over time and that the prime contract objective is to engage new and existing donors. Spending money in the near term to reengage and acquire donors most often results in repeat gifts over a number of years, even decades. In addition, the Lung Association has contracts to assure that initial costs do not exceed a specific percentage of the income received.

The American Lung Association encourages donors to make giving decisions based on information from nonprofit watch dogs group like the Better Business Bureau.


About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases.  For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: