Scott defends Resource Center practices after donor’s complaint

Posted on 26 Jan 2006 at 10:55pm

Mallory says he stopped giving after organization repeatedly did not acknowledge his donations, did not cash checks for more than a month



Paul E. Scott

Dallas resident Jim Mallory says he no longer donates money to the Resource Center of Dallas because he believes the agency does not properly keep track of or acknowledge donations.

But Paul E. Scott, executive director of the Resource Center, says the organization has made extensive changes in its development staff and its procedures for acknowledging donations since he first heard of Mallory’s complaint more than a year ago.

Mallory said this week that he first began giving money to the Resource Center in 1999, and that he donated about $2,000 a year to the agency over a five-year period. He said he had problems from the beginning in getting receipts for his donations and in not getting any acknowledgement that the donations had been received.

“I went down in person to make a donation, and the people at the front desk didn’t have the first clue about how to take a donation or give me a receipt. And they didn’t seem to know who to call to come and take the donation,” Mallory said.

He said the following year he sent his donation by mail. The check was not cashed for more than a month, and he received no acknowledgement that it had even been received until after he made several calls and written complaints.

Mallory said that when he complained, his complaints when unanswered.

Mallory said he made his last donation in November 2004 when he mailed a “multi-thousand-dollar check” to the Resource Center. After more than a month passed without any acknowledgement from the agency and without the check being cashed, he called Scott’s direct line.

“I left a message saying that I was stopping payment on the check and that I would no longer be donating to the Resource Center. I got a call back then,” he said.

Mallory said that after stopping payment on that final check to the Resource Center, he has instead been donating his money to the Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs, Calif.

“The first time I donated to Desert AIDS, I immediately received a thank-you note, followed by a longer letter and a receipt,” Mallory said.

In 2005, he added, “I sent my donation again to the Desert Aids Project and received a phone call within a week and a written acknowledgement within 10 days.”

Mallory said he decided to go public with his complaint against the Resource Center after seeing how differently the California organization handles donations.

“I’m not out to get anybody. I just think people ought to know what has been going on and how their donations are handled,” Mallory said. “There is just a tremendous difference in how Desert AIDS handles things and how the Resource Center handles things.”

Scott, however, said the problems Mallory describes have already been addressed, and that the Resource Center has improved and streamlined its system for receiving and acknowledging donations.

“We have a totally different staff here now in terms of our development staff,” Scott said. “We made some very deliberate staffing changes to make sure we give our donors the acknowledgement they deserve.

“There is no way we discount the value of our donors. We have a very competent staff now, and any concerns there were in the past have been addressed,” he said.

Scott said that anyone who donates more than $500 to the Resource Center gets a call immediately, and that the agency now uses new software enabling the staff to generate thank-you letters with 24 hours of receiving a donation.

Scott also said those changes were made after he talked with Mallory and “he made me aware of the situation.”

“There are times when mistakes are made. But if we don’t know about a mistake, we can’t make the necessary changes,” Scott said. “Since then, we have deliberately changed our system of doing things and we have established a written policy on handling donations. We get those calls made and those letters sent.”

E-mail nash@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of January 27, 2006.

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