According to the American Institute of Philanthropy, “$35 or less to raise $100 is reasonable for most charities.”
By comparison, the Federal government, in its fiscal ‘04 budget, plans to spend about $40 billion on “administration of justice” and about $10 billion on tax collection, in a total budget of about $3250 billion. So even if we attribute the expense of the entire Justice Department and Federal prison system to the cost of government “fund-raising”, it costs the government less than $2 to raise $100. (These figures are from the National Budget Simulation.)
The next time someone tells you that private charities are “more efficient” than the government at achieving some worthy goal, remember these figures.