Americans are among the most generous people in the world, contributing more than $373 billion to charity in 2015, according to The Giving Institute. Not only are Americans giving more to charity, but evolving marketing practices and new technologies have introduced different ways for organizations to accept donations and new challenges for consumer protection law enforcement and education.
On March 21, 2017, at the Constitution Center in Washington, DC, the FTC and the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) will hold a conference to examine how to protect consumers from fraud when they donate and how solicitation practices on behalf of charitable causes impact individual giving decisions. For decades, the FTC has brought cases and shared information to protect consumers from deceptive for-profit fundraisers and sham nonprofits. NASCO is the association of state offices with oversight of charitable organizations and solicitations.
The event, Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity, will bring together law enforcement, regulators, researchers, charity watchdogs, donor advocates, and members of the nonprofit sector. Discussions will focus on how people evaluate and respond to various charitable solicitation practices and the role of consumer protection. For more information, please visit the workshop page.
If your company gives to charities, or you work with nonprofit organizations, you might find the conference illuminating. In the meantime, consider these tips:
- Donate to charities you know and trust and that have a proven track record.
- Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events.
- Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials.
- Thinking about hiring a professional fundraiser? Read Raising Funds? What You Should Know About Hiring a Professional.