FTC & NASCO Host a Conference Exploring Consumer Protection Issues and Charitable Solicitations
Americans are among the most generous people in the world, contributing more than $373 billion to charity in 2015. Per capita giving by U.S. adults rose to $1,101, while household giving averaged $2,124. Not only are consumers giving more, but evolving marketing practices and new technologies have introduced different ways to solicit financial support from charitable consumers. For more than 20 years, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has engaged in law enforcement and education to protect consumers from deceptive for-profit fundraisers and sham nonprofits. In partnership with the National Association of State Charities Officials (“NASCO”), the association of state offices charged with oversight of charitable organizations and charitable solicitations in the United States, the FTC will convene a conference to examine how evolving and new solicitation practices on behalf of charitable causes impact individual giving decisions.
The event will bring together leading stakeholders -- regulators, researchers, practitioners, charity watchdogs, donor advocates, and members of the nonprofit sector. Discussions will focus on consumer protection concerns in the sector, including available data on donor expectations and perceptions, deceptive fundraising practices, the regulatory and enforcement environment, and new charitable giving options.
To enhance discussion of these issues, comments from the public, including original research, consumer surveys, and academic papers are invited. Of particular interest is research related to consumers’ expectations regarding their donations, data measuring how often consumers are deceived by charitable solicitations, and recommendations for effective donor education tools or self-regulatory initiatives by charities and fundraisers. Research or data on new fundraising technologies and techniques and their impact on consumer giving is also of interest, as is comment and research from legal scholars on the consumer protection challenges in the evolving fundraising environment. All submitted papers or comments will be published and publicly available on the FTC’s event webpage. Additional information about submitting a comment or research is available here.
The conference is free and the first day is open to the public. The FTC & NASCO will also host a second day of the conference, March 22, 2017, that will be open to law enforcement officials only and will focus on addressing consumer protection challenges in this area.
The conference will be held at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC 20024. A live webcast of the conference will also be available on the first day of the event and the link will be posted on this webpage. No preregistration is required. A detailed agenda will be published at a later date. Information about reasonable accommodations is available on the conference website.
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FTC STAFF CONTACTS
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Deputy Attorney General
Colorado Department of Law