Island residents are receiving telephone calls from professional telephone solicitors working for Eastern Advertising of Newton asking for donations on behalf of the Tisbury Police Relief Association.
The association helps police families, provides scholarships, and supports youth programs. Like all professional solicitation companies, Eastern keeps a set percentage of all money it collects.
Tisbury Police Sergeant Timothy Stobie told The Times that in 2010 solicitation efforts resulted in $43,774 in donations. Sgt. Stobie did not know what percentage the solicitation company kept.
Tisbury Police Officer and union shop steward Michael Gately said he and other officers stay out of fundraising efforts. “We’re just cops,” he said. “We’re not supposed to be out soliciting, so we leave that to the companies.”
“Sometimes people will call the station about the solicitations, and I tell them if they don’t want to donate, don’t donate,” Mr. Gately said. “They shouldn’t feel forced or pressured to do something. Some of [the telephone solicitors] can be very pushy because they get a percentage, so sometimes we tell them to back off.”
According to the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, on average, of every dollar that a professional solicitor raised for a charity in 2010, only 45 cents went to the charity. Eastern Advertising could not be reached for information on how much the company retains.
Before donating, the Office of the Attorney General recommends asking solicitors to disclose the amount that goes to the charity, information telephone solicitors are required by law to provide.