Feb 1, 2011

Hello,

The other day, I received a fund raising call from someone who said
something about the Canine Police Officers.  He gave me the web site
www.daddac.com.

I did not agree to pledge funds without reviewing information, and
he was unwilling to send information without a pledge.  The caller
was about to get off the phone but I was able to catch him before he
hung up, and that was the only way I had your web site.  He also
told me he was calling from Tennessee, I think.

Since you can't be too careful these days, can you confirm that this
was a legitimate fund raiser calling on your behalf?  Also, can you
tell me what your activities are here in Oklahoma, and what portion
of the funds I donate, had I made a pledge to the telephone
fundraiser, would actually go to services as opposed to fund raising
and administrative costs?

Thank you!



Feb 2, 2011

Robert,
Yes it was a legitimate call from our fund raiser. They are called Non Profit Services out of Nashville, TN.

Thank you,
Jenny Sparks.


Feb 2, 2011

Hello Jenny,

thank you for your response.

Also, can you tell me what your activities are here in Oklahoma, and what portion of the funds I donate, had I made a pledge to the telephone fundraiser, would actually go to services as opposed to fund raising and administrative costs?

Thank you!



Feb. 6, 2011

Hello,

I'm copying your other board members because I haven't heard back, and thought that possibly the people I addressed my message to earlier are busy or otherwise indisposed at the present time, perhaps due to the inclement weather.

Please read up from the bottom.  I'd appreciate an answer to my question with more specifics on your activities in Oklahoma which the caller spoke of, and what portion of the funds raised through Non Profit Services actually go towards these programs.

I hope you understand that I have limited funds that I can allot to charitable contributions, so I like to check in to organizations before I donate.  After all, this is often suggested as a good practice for consumers on television and newspaper news stories that expose those that would take advantage of people's charity and misdirect and/or squander the funds at the expense of other legitimate organizations, as I'm sure yours is.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated speedy response.



Feb 6, 2011

Robert,
Sorry for the delay. We have been on a short vacation and will be back in the office on tuesday. Our cut of the donation is 15%, it sounds minimal, but we have to pay a solicitor. Let me know if you have any more questions.
Jenny Sparks.


Feb. 6, 2011

Thank you for your response.

So are you saying that if I were to make a $50 donation, only $7.50 would go to the organization and $42.50 would go to the telemarketer?

And yes, I do have another question, and I apologize for apparently not being clear enough on my prior two emails where I thought I also asked this question.

Can you please provide specifics on your activities in Oklahoma which the caller spoke of.  I ask this question since I see from your web page that you are not located in Oklahoma and I could find no mention of your activities in Oklahoma.

Thank you.



Feb. 7, 2011

We have members in Oklahoma, and those members do demos in the schools, if their dogs are social.  We also recieve grants applications from all over to financially help Police Dept.'s that can not afford equipment or K9's. Your donation also help supply all departments interested in PP, for to purchase the supplies fot the demos.
Jenny Sparks 


Feb. 7, 2011

Also, we are requirered by the state to have a P.O. address in your state. 

Thanks.
Jenny



Feb. 7, 2011

Dear Ms. Sparks,

Thank you again for responding.

I guess I'm a bit skeptical, because if your organization is national in scope and you only get 15 cents on the dollar from the telemarketer (before your own administrative overhead), I don't see where that leaves much money to make a meaningful contribution of materials for school kids, much less K9s to police departments in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

Can you identify the police departments in Oklahoma who have received K9s or supplies through your organization in the past few years?

I appreciate your indulgence, and hope you share my belief that if one solicits the public for contributions, (particularly tax deductible contributions in this time of record national debt), then members of the public have the right (if not the duty) to see to it that those funds are indeed put to use for the stated purpose with reasonable efficiency.

Thank you again for your anticipated response.



Feb. 8, 2011

Robert,
Let me do some research and I will get back with you.
Jenny



Feb. 23, 2011

Jenny,

It's been two weeks since your last email below and I have not heard
back, so I thought I would follow-up.

For the past 3 weeks I have been trying to learn of any information
that substantiates your organization's claims as to resources put to
work in Oklahoma.

As I've candidly said before, I'm skeptical. And I have a problem
with charitable appeals generally where it is not up-front that only
a small percentage of the funds gets past the telemarketer, and
specifically here, where claims made by the caller as to uses of the
money here in Oklahoma can't be backed up.

I have heard of, but I have not yet personally researched, FTC
regulations that speak to the truthfulness of charitable
solicitations. I will. I am also seriously considering publicizing
this issue and I can picture DAD/DAC as the poster child. We have
been corresponding for 3 weeks now. This is my final follow-up for
the specific information I requested in my Feb. 7 email:

   Can you identify the police departments in Oklahoma who have
   received K9s or supplies through your organization in the past
   few years.

Despite my candid skepticism, I'm trying to do my due diligence and
give you every benefit of the doubt before I raise a stink about
this.  So if you have an answer to this question, please answer it
now, or I will assume you don't have a good answer.

In doing a quick Google search just now on "FTC charitable
solicitation" the second result is the following FTC page:

  http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/telemarketing/tel01.shtm

I don't feel as self conscious about making an issue out of this
because of this FTC information sheet (which I have never seen
before just now) which includes the following:

   Your charity dollars are an investment in your community, the
   nation, and the world. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the
   nationís consumer protection agency, says itís wise to be
   cautious when making your donation decisions so you can avoid
   scam artists who try to make money by taking advantage of your
   generosity.

   Charity Checklist

   Ask for written information about the charity, including the
   name, address, and telephone number. A legitimate charity or
   fundraiser will send you information about the charityís mission,
   how your donation will be used, and proof that your contribution
   is tax deductible.

      Your representative was unwilling to send information if I was
      not willing to make an unconditional pledge.

   Don't be shy about asking who wants your money. Some charities
   hire professional fundraisers for large-scale mailings, telephone
   drives, and other solicitations rather than use their own staff
   or volunteers, and then use a portion of the donations to pay the
   fundraiserís fees. If you're solicited for a donation, ask if the
   caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and the
   percentage of your donation that will go to the charity and to
   the fundraiser. If you don't get a clear answer ó or if you donít
   like the answer you get ó consider donating to a different
   organization.

      Your representative was not forthright with the
      percentage split.


   Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the
   solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. If not, you
   may be dealing with a scam artist.

      That is exactly what I did.


   Check with local recipients. If giving to local organizations is
   important to you, make sure they will benefit from your
   generosity. If a charity tells you that your dollars will support
   a local organization, like a fire department, police department,
   or hospital, call the organization to verify the claim.


      This is exactly what I am trying to do, without any success so
      far.

   Before you open your checkbook, check out the charity youíre
   considering with these organizations. Note: Many small, new, or
   local charities may not be rated by the organizations listed
   here. Some fraternal organizations, like police and firefighter
   groups, may not be rated at all. If the charity seeking your
   donation is not listed or rated, follow the precautions listed
   under the Charity Checklist to help you determine whether it
   merits your donation dollars.

   BBB Wise Giving Alliance
   www.bbb.org/charity


      So I checked.  It looks like the BBB didn't have any better
      luck than I have so far:

        BBB Wise Giving Report for
        Dogs Against Drugs/Dogs Against Crime
        BBB Wise Giving Report issued September 2010
        BBB Wise Giving Report expires September 2011

        Nondisclosure
        This Charity did not provide requested
        information. As a result, the Better Business Bureau cannot
        determine if it meets standards

 Reading further, the FTC's characterization of the Telemarketing
 Sales Rule seems to be consistent with my understanding.  I will be
 reading the regulations themselves when I have the time:


       Telemarketing Sales Rule

       The FTCís Telemarketing Sales Rule applies to telemarketers
       who make calls across state lines on behalf of charitable
       organizations. The Rule restricts calling times to the hours
       between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. The Rule also requires
       telemarketers to promptly identify the charitable
       organization they represent and to disclose that the purpose
       of the call is to ask for a contribution. Telemarketers may
       not mislead you or lie to get your contribution.

         I believe the telemarketer misled me by describing what the
         money goes to without disclosing that 85% is kept by the
         telemarketer.  When I asked, he tried to mislead me into
         thinking it was a 85-15 split with the 85% going to the
         organization.  He came clean only after I pressed him
         further.  The telemarketer further misled me when he
         specifically discussed your organization's activities in
         Oklahoma which you cannot appear to substantiate in any
         way.

[Note - after further review of that call, there may have been an honest misunderstanding at first about which way the split went, so he may not have been deliberately misleading as to that.  Still, I had to ask too many questions to get a straight answer.]


 So based on your organizations' solidly hitting many of the things
 to look out for on the FTC check list, it is starting to look like
 you're falling under the FTC's definition of "scam artists" as
 expressed in this document.

 I also note that while I have been also making sure that the
 DAD/DAC officers listed on your web site have been copied on my
 emails, not one officer has taken the opportunity to jump in and
 address my concerns or otherwise see to it that my concerns are
 addressed.  Gentlemen, I respectfully suggest that your silence
 speaks volumes.

 So again, if I'm wrong about anything here or if you can answer my
 question about police departments in Oklahoma who have received K9s
 or other resources, please let me know right away.

 Thank you.


February 28, 2011

Robert,
First of all we have 25 members in OK, and another thing we are in compliance with your state through the Attorney Generals Office and they require that we have an address in your state.  Yes we are based out of IN. But, we have been in business since 1989.  We started as a small fundraising business, where we would help other K9 officers in need of equipment and dogs. Then we added training and Puppy Patrol to make kids aware through the dogs in schools. You make us out as something bad since we are not as well known as the DARE program. I have answered your questions and responded to your emails. What gives you the right to call us a scam. We are legitimate decent people trying to help the betterment of communities.  Yes we solicit in your state, but we are registered to do so. I am sorry if you miss understood my emails, but you didn't tell me I was being interrogated. Please let me know if there is anything else that you answered about our organization.
By the way I am sorry for not responding quick enough for you. I have been sick twice since Christmas and broke my wrist Jan. 3rd and am still in a cast till the end of march.
Thank you,
Jenny Sparks
Office Manager

Sent from my iPad


March 3, 2011

Hello Jenny,

Thank you for your response and for your patience.  My schedule has
not permitted the time to quickly provide the detailed and thoughtful
response that I think this matter deserves.

I will answer your message point-by-point.

On Monday, February 28, 2011, 5:16:00 PM, you wrote:

J> Robert, First of all we have 25 members in OK, and another thing
J> we are in compliance with your state through the Attorney
J> Generals Office and they require that we have an address in your
J> state.

You mentioned members in Oklahoma in an earlier email. I understand
from your web site that K9 handlers may want to pay DADDAC $35 to
have a membership in the organization and to get the magazine and
other information related to their field.  But to me that is a
totally separate issue from your fundraising to support donations of
K9s and Puppy Patrol materials to police departments in Oklahoma.

But this is not anything I have specifically asked about and it's
not related to my concerns about your fundraising. I have asked for
the list of recipients of K9s and program materials in Oklahoma.
Telling me about the number of members in Oklahoma does not help me
evaluate whether donated funds are efficiently put to work for the
stated purpose.

Yes, you mentioned the P.O. Address before, but that doesn't help me
either. In any event, I'm not aware of any such requirement that
your organization have an Oklahoma address. I have no reason to
doubt that your organization and your professional fundraising
company, Non Profit Services, are both duly registered with the
Oklahoma Secretary of State.

But again, none of this is related to my concerns.


J> Yes we are based out of IN. But, we have been in business since
J> 1989.  We started as a small fundraising business, where we would
J> help other K9 officers in need of equipment and dogs. Then we
J> added training and Puppy Patrol to make kids aware through the
J> dogs in schools.

I don't doubt any of that, but it doesn't address my concerns.

But since you bring up the topic, please then answer this question:
How many sets of Puppy Patrol handouts does your organization pay
for and have handed out every year?  How many in Oklahoma?

J> You make us out as something bad since we are not as well known
J> as the DARE program.

I have not said anything about DADDAC not being well known, nor have
I compared your organizations with other organizations.

But since you mention D.A.R.E., yes, I do see the kids come home
from school with D.A.R.E. materials every year, usually during Red
Ribbon Week.

I don't remember seeing any DADDAC or Puppy Patrol materials come
home with any of my kids nor do I remember hearing about any K9
demonstrations throughout the grade school careers of 4 kids, ages 9
through 21, which pretty much covers the past 15 years with kids in
elementary school.  But that doesn't mean anything.  For all I know
you put on annual demonstrations in other school districts in
Oklahoma.

Now that you have me curious about D.A.R.E., I note that in about 2
minutes I can find their web site, and go right to a copy of their
Annual Report which is prominently linked on their web site.

From their Annual Report, I see that their 2009 fundraising costs
are only about 4% of their gross income, and their program services
of over $5 million were actually 110% of their gross revenues. Their
2008 fundraising costs were even lower although income was higher,
and they had a budget surplus that year which is probably what
helped to maintain services in 2009.

Why doesn't DADDAC have it's Annual Report proudly displayed on its
web site like D.A.R.E. does?


J> I have answered your questions and responded to your emails.

You promptly answered most of my emails and I have thanked you for
it. But you repeatedly dodged my most relevant question,
even when I kept patiently asking it in my follow-up emails.

My main question, which forms the basis of my concerns as outlined
on the web page, remains unanswered:

    Please identify the police departments in Oklahoma who have
    received K9s or supplies through your organization in the past
    few years.

You have sent a number of emails but you have not answered this
simple question that I ask in order to verify the claims made by
your fundraiser as outlined on my web page. I note again that this
is a question that the FTC says people should ask before donating.

Together with what I see on your Form 990, I take your continued
non-answer as a "no" - in other words, you can't name any police
departments in Oklahoma who have received K9s or Puppy Patrol in the
past few years, because there aren't any. If that's wrong, then list
the recipients like I've asked you to do and I'll call them to
verify.

J> What gives you the right to call us a scam.

My First Amendment rights. (These are the same rights that let you
have your 85/15 split arrangement when people can actually go to
prison for doing that under Oklahoma law, which requires no more
than 10% kept by the professional fundraiser. A controlling court
case held that a similar law infringed on the First Amendment rights
of non-profits to fundraise and get their message out, so the
Oklahoma law is not enforced.)

As I said in my email several days before I created the web
page, my experience with DADDAC squarely hits on many of the warning
signs that the FTC has on its web page telling consumers like me how
to "avoid scam artists who try to make money by taking advantage of
your generosity." In that email I told you that I was seriously
considering publicizing this issue and DADDAC specifically, and that
if you were going to finally address my concerns after these
numerous emails back and forth you needed to do so immediately.

I have made reasonable inquiry into the facts and I have information
that is relevant to people who may want to contribute to your
organization or other organizations in response to a similar
telephone solicitation. I believe that many people would be outraged
if they knew that almost all of the money never leaves a
telemarketing boiler room.

I believe your organization may be in violation of the FTC Act if
the solicitation is dishonest. After being skeptical and trying to
get answers for a month and doing my own research, I believe your
organization blatantly lied to me when soliciting for a
contribution.

I note that the Oregon Attorney General also apparently called your
organization a scam. DADDAC made that office's "20 Worst Charities"
list in December, 2009. The AG was quoted as saying, "Although many
charities do great work, some are little more than scams with
good-sounding names but that do little to actually help the people
they claim to support".

This, and more, is what gives me the right to call DADDAC a scam.


J> We are legitimate decent people trying to help the betterment of
J> communities. Yes we solicit in your state, but we are registered
J> to do so.

While I am certainly disappointed in you and the board members (who
have remained silent although copied on all but the first couple of
our emails), I do not know any of you personally. I have been
respectful to you throughout our correspondence and have expressed
no judgments about the decency of any individuals.

But since you mention it, I think you know in your heart that the
85/15 split is a relevant fact that your potential donors should
know about upfront. So I challenge you to do the decent thing and
put your financials on your web site like D.A.R.E. does, and insist
that whoever does your fund raising clearly spell this out before
they accept anybody's pledge.  Will you do that?


J> I am sorry if you miss understood my emails, but you didn't tell
J> me I was being interrogated.

I have carefully read and re-read your emails, and I am quite
certain I have not misunderstood any of them.

I was not "interrogating" you. I was asking the questions about what
your organization does with people's hard-earned contribution
dollars in Oklahoma, as the FTC and common sense says I should. I
politely asked over and over again for the kind of information that
legitimate charities like D.A.R.E. make readily available on their
web sites.

And I did tell you, and each and every one of the DADDAC board
members, after continued non-answers and after reviewing your Form
990, that I was considering publicizing the issue. I told DADDAC
that if they had any answers to my concerns to provide them right
away. I was met with more silence.

J> Please let me know if there is anything else that you answered
J> about our organization.

    Please identify the police departments in Oklahoma who have
    received K9s or supplies through your organization in the past
    few years.

J> By the way I am sorry for not responding quick enough for you. I
J> have been sick twice since Christmas and broke my wrist Jan. 3rd
J> and am still in a cast till the end of march.

I am very sorry to hear that you have been sick, and broke your
wrist.  I can empathize especially since I've been sick a couple of
times since Christmas, too.  But I can assure you, the problem I
have is not with the speed of your responses.  In fact, I have
repeatedly thanked you for responding.  The problem is that your
responses have not answered my question.

When your organization makes a charitable appeal to the public, you
have an obligation to provide truthful information sufficient for a
potential donor to make a decision about a donation, and this should
be readily available to be provided upon request, (like D.A.R.E.
does).

This information could have been provided to me at any time over the
past few weeks in which you were sending me emails.

With my messages being copied to the DADDAC board members, and it
being obvious that I wasn't getting an answer, any one of them could
and should have stepped in.

I believe the reason no information has been prepared, ready to be
sent upon request, is because providing information so a potential
donor can make an informed decision has no part in your fundraising
strategy. Indeed, I would say that your fundraising strategy depends
on potential donors being kept in the dark, and hopefully naive
enough to not ask questions. As your fund raising telemarketer even
admitted to me, nobody would donate if they knew that the
telemarketer kept 85%.

But what is of more serious concern is that given that DADDAC is
collecting over $1 million per year, and my emails suggested that
there may be claims made in your charitable solicitations that can't
be backed up, why didn't any of the board members jump all over this
and get to the bottom of the matter? Why have I still not heard from
a single member of the DADDAC board?


J> Thank you,
J> Jenny Sparks
J> Office Manager


 

No further response from anyone at Dogs Against Drugs Dogs Against Crime.  This will be updated if any responses are received.