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Event Description

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.

Email questions to


Tracy Thorleifson
Northwest Region

Janice Kopec
Bureau of Consumer Protection


Alissa Gardenswartz
Deputy Attorney General
Colorado Department of Law

logo of NASCO: National Association of State Charities Officials

  • 7:30 – 8:30 am


    8:30-8:45 am

    Welcome & Introductory Remarks

    Tom Pahl
    Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission

    Cynthia H. Coffman
    Attorney General, State of Colorado

    8:45-9:45 am


    Panel 1: Combatting Charity Fraud - Enforcement Issues

    What can we learn from recent examples of charitable solicitation fraud? What legal challenges do regulators and law enforcement face in effectively preventing and stopping illegal conduct in the nonprofit sector?

    Karin Kunstler Goldman
    Deputy Chief, Charities Bureau
    Office of the New York State Attorney General

    Tracy S. Thorleifson
    Attorney, Northwest Region, Federal Trade Commission
    Alissa Gardenswartz
    Deputy Attorney General, Consumer Protection Section
    Office of the Colorado Attorney General
    Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer
    Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School
    David C. Vladeck
    Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

    9:45-10:50 am

    Panel 2: The State of Giving Today – An Overview of Charities and Donors

    What does the data tell us about the state of the charitable sector today? Who is donating, where are they directing donations, and how are they giving? How do cultural and generational contexts affect giving decisions?

    Karen Gano
    President, NASCO
    Assistant Attorney General, Office of Attorney General George Jepsen

    Elizabeth Trocolli Boris
    Institute Fellow, Urban Institute
    Waldemar A. Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy
    Visiting Professor of Practice, McCourt School of Public Policy
    Georgetown University
    Dr. Una Osili
    Director of Research, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
    Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

    10:50-11:05 am


    11:05-11:45 am

    Panel 3: Why Give? A Look at What Motivates Giving

    Why do people give and what factors influence giving decisions?

    Hugh R. Jones
    Deputy Attorney General Tax & Charities Division, State of Hawaii

    Adrian Sargeant
    Director, Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy
    University of Plymouth, United Kingdom

    11:45-1:00 pm


    Panel 4: Future of Fundraising – Emerging Challenges for Donors & Regulators

    How will the sharing economy develop and affect philanthropy as millennials age? What are the implications for consumers and law enforcement? In the near term, how will new technologies like immersive story-telling, augmented reality, and virtual reality change the ways charities engage with donors? What do these changes mean for donors, regulators and the sector?

    Cindy M. Lott, Esq.
    Director, Nonprofit Management Programs
    School of Professional Studies, Columbia University
    Senior Fellow, Center in Nonprofits and Philanthropy, Urban Institute

    Rachel Hatch
    Research Director, Institute for the Future
    Marcia Stepanek
    Lecturer, Columbia University School of Professional Studies

    1:00-2:00 pm


    2:00-3:30 pm

    Panel 5: Navigating Charitable Giving Today - Current Donor Choices and Challenges

    Charities reach today’s donors through many different modes, from traditional direct mail and telemarketing to online fundraising, crowdfunding and even through cause marketing campaigns. What benefits and challenges do these varied fundraising channels present for donors?

    Bob Carlson
    Senior Assistant Attorney General, Missouri Attorney General’s Office

    Tiffany Neill, CFRE
    Partner, Lautman Maska Neill & Company
    Amy Sample Ward
    CEO, NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network
    Daniel Gordon
    Head of Trust and Safety, GoFundMe
    David Hessekiel
    President, Engage for Good
    Bennett Weiner
    COO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance

    3:30-3:40 pm


    3:40-4:30 pm

    Panel 6: Data for Good – Empowering Donors Through Education

    How do we educate donors of all ages and incomes to detect and avoid deceptive charitable solicitations? What information is most valuable to donors when deciding which charity to support? Do new forms of donor engagement provide new opportunities for learning? What is the importance of showing impacts and outcomes? What role can government, charity monitors and raters, gatekeepers and charities themselves play in promoting informed giving choices and detecting fraud?

    Janice L. Kopec
    Attorney, Division of Marketing Practices, Federal Trade Commission

    Nageeb S. Sumar
    Deputy Director, Philanthropic Partnerships at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    Jacob Harold
    President & CEO, GuideStar
    Michael Thatcher
    President & CEO, Charity Navigator
    Steve MacLaughlin
    Vice President, Data & Analytics, Blackbaud Inc.
    Elizabeth Grant
    Sr. Asst. Attorney General, Oregon Dept. of Justice

    4:30-5:25 pm



    Panel 7: Safeguarding Donors from Fraud and Deception – Identifying Possibilities and Priorities

    How can government, the sector, relevant gatekeepers, and others work together to protect donors from fraud? What red flags should alert government to possible problems? How can enforcement priorities and regulatory responses be optimized? What additional research or data would be useful?

    Tracy S. Thorleifson
    Attorney, Northwest Region, Federal Trade Commission

    Andrew Watt
    Global Strategy Consultant
    Former President & CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals
    Marc Owens
    Partner, Loeb & Loeb, LLP, Washington, DC
    Art Taylor
    President & CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance
    Allison Grayson
    Director of Policy Development and Analysis, Independent Sector
    Sue Santa
    Adjunct Faculty, Columbia University School of Professional Studies
    Mark A. Pacella
    Chief Deputy Attorney General
    Charitable Trusts and Organizations Section, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General

    5:25-5:30 pm


    Concluding Thoughts

    Charles A. Harwood
    Regional Director, Northwest Region, Federal Trade Commission



    Thomas B. Pahl is the Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission.  Before recently commencing this position, he was a partner at the law firm of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Washington, D.C., where his practice focuses on representing consumer financial services and other consumer protection matters.  Prior to joining the firm, Tom was a Managing Counsel in the Office of Regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for three and a half years, having responsibility for rulemaking, guidance, and policy development activities relating to debt collection, credit reporting, and financial privacy.  Before coming to the CFPB, he spent over two decades in a number of positions at the Federal Trade Commission, including serving for six years as an Assistant Director in the Division of Financial Practices and for five years as an Assistant Director in the Division of Advertising Practices.   Tom also served as an attorney advisor for FTC Commissioners Orson Swindle and Mary Azcuenaga.  He received his J.D, cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, and his B.A., summa cum laude, in economics from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

    Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman serves as the State’s 38th Attorney General.  Since being elected in November of 2014, General Coffman has focused on community outreach, consumer protection, drug enforcement and protecting Colorado’s sovereignty. In 2016, Roll Call named AG Coffman one of the Most Influential Women in State Politics.  A native Missourian, General Coffman graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia and then Georgia State University Law School in Atlanta.  Before moving to Colorado, AG Coffman’s legal career began more than 25 years ago in the Georgia Attorney General’s Office as a courtroom attorney. She then had the opportunity to work for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, where she acted as the primary liaison with the victims and their families following the 1996 domestic terror attack in Olympic Park.

    After moving to Colorado, AG Coffman worked in Colorado state government for years. She worked for the Colorado General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Council with the Senate Judiciary Committee and then joined the senior management team at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. General Coffman moved to the State Capitol in 2004, where she had the honor of serving as Chief Counsel to Colorado Governor Bill Owens. General Coffman began her tenure at the Colorado Department of Law in March of 2005 when she was appointed Chief Deputy Attorney General. She proudly served in this role for 10 years, acting as chief of staff and chief operating officer for the largest law firm in the State of Colorado.



    Karin Kunstler Goldman is the Deputy Bureau Chief in the New York State Attorney General's Charities Bureau.  Karin was the 2001-2002 president of the National Association of State Charity Officials and is a founding member of the Governance Matters.  From 2003 to 2007 she served on the advisory board of New York University’s National Center on Philanthropy and the Law and was a member of the Internal Revenue Service’s Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt Entities from 2008 to 2011. As a volunteer, Karin participated in training programs conducted for charity regulators throughout the country by the National State Attorneys General Program on Charities Regulation and Oversight Project at Columbia University Law School.  Prior to joining the Attorney General's office, Karin was a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow and a staff attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation.  As an Eisenhower Exchange Fellow in Hungary, Karin worked with nonprofit organizations, government officials and legislative drafters in developing the law and regulations affecting Hungary’s nonprofit sector.  She has consulted with government officials and legislative drafters in Ukraine and China on the development of statutory regulation of charitable organizations in those countries.  Karin was a guest of the People’s Republic of China at its 2007 International Symposium on Charity Legislation in China at which she was a speaker and in 2015 when she participated in workshops on the developing nonprofit law.  Karin and her husband, Neal, spent two years as Peace Corps volunteers in Senegal, West Africa.  They have two children and four grandchildren.  Karin has a law degree from Rutgers University Law School, a BA from Connecticut College and an MA from Columbia University.

    Tracy Thorleifson is lead counsel for the FTC in the federal/state litigation against Cancer Fund of America, Inc., et al.  Since at least 1996, she has coordinated several state/federal projects targeting fundraising fraud and led previous Commission actions against both professional fundraisers and sham charities.  Ms. Thorleifson has also worked on ground-breaking actions involving the Commission’s unfairness doctrine, as well as major cases involving debt buyers and subprime auto lenders.  She has been the lead attorney for the FTC in a variety of other fraud and deception cases involving infomercial makers, telemarketers, lead brokers, and others engaged in scams ranging from deceptive claims about advance fee loans, credit card offers, assorted supposed health products, unauthorized debiting, and consumer credit counseling.  Ms. Thorleifson has been with the Federal Trade Commission’s Northwest Region since 1988.  In 2012, her work at the Commission was recognized with the FTC’s Robert Pitofsky Lifetime Achievement Award.  Ms. Thorleifson is a graduate of Smith College and Harvard Law School. 

    Alissa Gardenswartz is the Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.  Prior to becoming the Consumer Protection Deputy, Alissa led numerous investigations and prosecutions involving violations of state and federal consumer protection laws, including charity fraud, foreclosure fraud, and antitrust cases.  She has practiced in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office since 2007.  Prior to joining the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, Alissa worked in private practice in both Denver and Washington, D.C., and began her career with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition.   Alissa has served on the National Association of State Charity Officials board since 2010, including serving as president of the board in 2013-2014.  She also has served as faculty for the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute as well as for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.  Alissa is a graduate of UCLA and the University of Chicago Law School.

    Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer joined the faculty at Notre Dame Law School as an associate professor of law in 2005 and became a full professor in 2011. He also served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2011 to 2015. He earned his A.B., with distinction and honors, from Stanford University in 1989 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1994. While at Yale, he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics and served as business editor of the Yale Law and Policy Review and as an editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Following graduation, he clerked for the Honorable Lowell A. Reed, Jr., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He then joined Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, D.C., first as an associate and later as a member, where he concentrated on tax issues, particularly for nonprofit organizations. His areas of research interest and expertise include the laws governing nonprofit organizations, the growing intersection of election law and tax law with respect to lobbying and other political activity by nonprofits, and the role of nonprofits both domestically and internationally.

    David C. Vladeck teaches federal courts, civil procedure, administrative law, and serves as faculty director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology.  From 2009 to 2013, he directed the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  Before joining the Law Center faculty in 2002, he spent over 25 years with Public Citizen Litigation Group.  He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science, Law and Technology, a Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense, a Senior Fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States, and a member of the American Law Institute.   



    Karen Gano is president of the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO).  She is an Assistant Attorney General in the Special Litigation Unit of Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen's Office.  She has handled charities-related matters for the Attorney General more than ten years. Gano was also founding president of the Multistate Registration and Filing Portal, Inc., a multistate corporation established by NASCO and supported by the National Association of Attorneys General to create a multistate, unified electronic charities registration system. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, AAG Gano worked in the nonprofit sector, then with the Connecticut law firm Carmody & Torrance LLP, in the Trusts and Estates Division and representing nonprofits.  Gano serves on the Advisory Board for the National Center for Philanthropy and the Law, on the State of Connecticut's Probate Rules Advisory Committee, and on the Executive Committee for the Estates and Probate Section of the Connecticut Bar Association. Gano is a graduate of Smith College and University of Connecticut School of Law.

    Elizabeth T. Boris is an Institute Fellow of the Urban Institute and in August 2015, she became the Waldemar A. Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, where she is a visiting professor of practice.  In September of 1996, Dr. Boris became the founding director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. The Center conducts research on the role and impact of nonprofit organizations and the policy issues that affect them. The Center also hosts the National Center for Charitable Statistics, which builds and maintains the nation’s largest research database on nonprofit organizations.

    From 1991 to 1996, Dr. Boris was founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector Research Fund, the first grant making program devoted to supporting research on the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. Prior to her tenure at the Aspen Institute, Dr. Boris was Vice President for Research at the Council on Foundations, where she developed the research program and directed it for twelve years. She holds a Ph.D. and MA in political science from Rutgers University and a BA from Douglass College, Rutgers University, with honors and Phi Beta Kappa. She was elected to the Douglass College Honorary Society in 2004.

    The author of many research publications on nonprofits and philanthropy, she edited Nonprofits and Government: Collaboration and Conflict, with C. Eugene Steuerle, and is an author of Working in Foundations: Career Patterns of Women and Men, with Teresa Odendahl and Arlene Kaplan Daniels. Dr. Boris is actively involved as an advisor and board member for a variety of organizations in the nonprofit sector. In 2006 she received the Distinguished Achievement and Leadership Award from the Association for Research on Nonprofits and Voluntary Action. She was named a member of NPT Power & Influence Top 50 nonprofit leaders nine times.

    Dr. Una Osili is the Director of Research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a leading academic institution dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide.  Dr. Osili leads the School’s extensive research program on the philanthropic behavior of households, foundations and corporations.  An internationally recognized expert on philanthropy, Dr. Osili frequently speaks around the world on issues related to national and international trends in philanthropy and has been quoted by national news media outlets such as The New York Times, the Chronicle on Philanthropy and National Public Radio.

    Dr. Osili is a Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Her research focuses on household financial behavior including charitable giving, volunteering, and saving and investment decisions.

    Dr. Osili provides guidance for Giving USA, which is published by Giving USA Foundation.  She also directs the School's signature research project, the Philanthropy Panel Study (PPS). PPS is the largest and most comprehensive study of philanthropy of American families over time, and is conducted in partnership with the University of Michigan's Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID).  She has led an inaugural study on global trends in high net worth philanthropy in six countries. She served as a member of several national and international advisory groups, including the Social Science Research Council, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Program.

    Dr. Osili is a consultant with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and has worked for the World Bank.  She received the Stevenson Fellowship from the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council. She was appointed as a fellow of the International Institute for Labor (IZA) and Networks Financial Institute.  She is a member of the graduate school faculty at Indiana University.   She has held visiting positions at Yale University, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Migration and Journal of African Economies.  

    Dr. Osili is a prolific researcher with an extensive body of published research.  She earned her B.A. in Economics at Harvard University, and her M.A., and Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University.



    Hugh R. Jones has served with the Hawaii Attorney General’s office for over 27 years and is a Deputy Attorney in the Tax & Charities Division of the Hawaii Attorney General's office. Jones' Division provides regulatory oversight over 4,500 public charities, charitable trusts, and private foundations in Hawaii.  The Division also provides regulatory oversight over professional solicitors and fundraising counsel and enforces Hawaii's charitable solicitation law.  Jones has drafted and successfully enacted six significant legislative initiatives to adopt or amend the State's nonprofit corporation and charitable solicitation laws to strengthen the State's oversight of charitable organizations and charitable solicitation.   Jones was the recipient of the National Association of Attorneys General Senior Staff of the Year Award in 2016.  Jones graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1986.  Jones is the past president of the Hawaii State Bar Association and the National Association of State Charity Officials. Jones is a frequent speaker and faculty member at Hawaii and mainland conferences and seminars devoted to nonprofit governance and regulatory matters, including NASCO, and the National Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School.  Since 2010 has been a visiting professor of law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, teaching the Law of Nonprofit and Tax Exempt Organizations.

    Adrian Sargeant is Professor of Fundraising and Director of the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University. He formerly held the Hartsook Chair in Fundraising at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and holds visiting appointments at Avila University and the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies, Queensland University of Technology. He has received many awards for his services to the profession, including Outstanding Contribution awards from the Institute of Fundraising and Civil Society and was named on the Non-profit Times Power and Influence List in 2010. He has published more than ten books and around 150 academic publications, and designed new qualification frameworks for fundraising professional bodies across the world. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing and the Institute of Fundraising.



    Cindy M. Lott serves as Program Director for Nonprofit Management Programs at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies and teaches in that program, as well. Prior to her current position, she served as Executive Director and Senior Counsel to the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, and within that Program was the developer and lead counsel to the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project from 2006-2015. Currently, Lott is also a Senior Fellow at the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, working in conjunction with the Institute’s Tax Policy and Charities project. She develops and moderates a series of national convenings on state and federal regulation of the charitable sector and is engaged in research regarding regulatory capacity and enforcement at the state level. At Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, Lott teaches several courses addressing governance, ethics and the relationship of the nonprofit sector and government.

    Lott is a frequent speaker at national conferences in the areas of philanthropic and nonprofit state regulation, compliance, management and governance.  Lott was selected as one of six members of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) and will serve 2015-2018.

    Lott served as Chief Counsel to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston and was Deputy Counsel to the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. She has worked at large firms in several major cities in the areas of employment, business litigation and compliance. She also served as Chief Counsel for Advisory Services in the Indiana Attorney General's office, as well as Section Chief for Administrative and Regulatory Litigation in that office. Lott is a 1993 graduate of the Yale Law School and clerked for the United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Indiana and Massachusetts.

    Marcia Stepanek is an award-winning multimedia journalist, digital/visual media strategist, and author of the forthcoming book, Swarms: The Rise of the Digital Anti-Establishment — about the evolving power and influence of social networks to pervasively reshape business and society. A former John S. Knight Fellow in New Media at Stanford University, she has worked at the intersection of digital media, technology, and social change for more than 20 years; she has held executive leadership positions at major corporations in the media and publishing industries, leading editorial teams for top media organizations including Hearst, BusinessWeek, Knight-Ridder, and Ziff-Davis Media. Before coming to Columbia, she also taught and developed courses in digital media strategy, data measurement, evaluation, and revision, and social media strategy at New York University and was a senior academic advisor to NYU's Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising.

    Marcia is an expert in digital/visual media strategy and an in-demand speaker internationally on the rise of digital activism, nonprofit story narratives, and data-driven innovations in philanthropy; her thought leadership and writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Salon,,, MSNBC, Contribute, Newsday, National Public Radio, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, among others.

    As Founder and CEO of BrandStories, a Manhattan media collaborative, Marcia also has worked as a story consultant and led workshops for a range of civil society organizations including UNICEF, the philanthropy arm of Credit Suisse, China Institute, the U.S. District Court, Jazz at Lincoln Center,Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, and New York University. She has received a variety of awards for her journalism work, including a George Polk Award and a National Press Club Award for Washington Correspondence, and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and a World Technology Network Award for media and journalism. Marcia holds a Master's degree in Communications from the University of Illinois.

    Rachel Hatch. Since 2008, Rachel has brought knowledge, deep curiosity and empathy to dozens of projects at Institute for the Future, a nonprofit research group based in Silicon Valley with a nearly 50 year track record of helping organizations think systematically about the future. At Institute for the Future, she thinks about the next decade as part of the Ten-Year Forecast program, which includes inquiries around the future of philanthropic and the public sector. She also leads IFTF’s Cities Lab and the fellowship program, Future for Good.  Rachel holds a BA in religion and psychology from St. Olaf College, an MDiv from Yale Divinity School, and an MPhil in ecumenical studies from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.



    Bob Carlson coordinates all nonprofit and charity law issues for the Missouri Attorney General's Office. He frequently investigates and litigates cases in all areas of state nonprofit law. Bob is also a past president of the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) and was a co-leader of the ongoing Cancer Fund multistate case – one of the largest charity fraud cases ever brought.  Bob also teaches a seminar on Nonprofit Organizations at Saint Louis University School of Law and often speaks on topics concerning state Attorney Generals’ regulation of the nonprofit sector and fundraising law.

    Tiffany Neill is co-owner and partner of Lautman Maska Neill & Company, an award-winning full-service direct response firm specializing in fundraising for nonprofits. The company she has built with co-owner Lisa Maska reflects their commitment to innovation and excellence in direct response fundraising, their belief in the power of nonprofit organizations to improve the world we live in and their personal goals of leaving the world a better place.

    Tiffany draws on over twenty years of fundraising experience going back to early days opening membership responses at B’nai B’rith.  Over the years, she has consulted with large and small nonprofit organizations and helped successfully launch the direct response fundraising efforts at many.  Her expertise was recognized by the Direct Marketing Association of Washington who named her Industry All Star in 2015.

    Tiffany collaborates with the organizations served by the firm to share what she has learned to propel fundraising forward.  She is a frequent speaker at industry meetings and seminars, and has often addressed audiences at the AFP’s International Fundraising Conference, at the Bridge Conference sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the DMAW as well as at the DMA’s Nonprofit Conference in New York and Washington D.C.

    She has served numerous nonprofits as a Board member, and currently serves on the Board of the DC Chapter of the AFP as well as on the Board of Directors of the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel (ADRFCo).  In 2016 she was Co-Chair of the Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference.  Tiffany holds memberships in the DMA, the DMAW and AFP. A graduate of Stanford University, she earned an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

    Amy Sample Ward.  Amy is dedicated to educating and supporting organizations in using technology to create meaningful community engagement and make lasting change. Whether it is by connecting individuals, organizations, campaigns, or possibilities, Amy hopes to facilitate the nonprofit technology sector transitioning into a movement-based force for positive change.

    In addition to serving as NTEN’s CEO, she is a speaker, author, and trainer having worked with groups and spoken at events around the world. In 2013, she co-authored Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to implement online multichannel strategies to spark advocacy, raise money, and engage your community with Allyson Kapin. She previously co-authored Social by Social, a handbook in using social technologies for social impact, and has contributed to various other publications about social change and technology.

    After opportunities to live and travel around the US and beyond, she is happy to be back in her native state of Oregon. Offline, Amy is hiking, biking, or exploring with her husband and dog, with a preference for Oregon’s coast or wine country.

    Daniel Gordon is the Head of Trust and Safety at GoFundMe.  An attorney and business leader, Danny builds and enforces layers of trust between GoFundMe, its users, and government stakeholders, to both empower the community of social fundraising and eliminate misuse of the GoFundMe Platform.  Before joining GoFundMe, Danny was most recently in-house counsel at Visa.  Prior to Visa, he clerked for the Hon. Monroe G. McKay of the Tenth Circuit and represented both civil and criminal clients at the San Francisco litigation firm Keker & Van Nest.  He earned his law degree from Stanford Law School and his bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley.  Between college and law school Danny served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.

    David Hessekiel is the President, Engage for Good and the co-author of Good Works! David Hessekiel owns and leads Cause Marketing Forum, Inc. (CMFI), a firm that educates, inspires and brings together professionals pursuing both purpose and profits in the U.S. and Canada.  Engage for Good ( has empowered thousands of executives through its conferences, workshops, webinars, awards, research and online offerings since 2002. EFG (known as Cause Marketing Forum until December 2016) provides business and nonprofit professionals with practical knowledge, valuable connections and recognition for outstanding accomplishment.

    Hessekiel’s insights into pursuing a combination of profit and purpose and peer-to-peer fundraising, have made him a sought-after speaker in the US and overseas. He is also a frequently quoted source for notable media outlets, such as The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, CNN, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Advertising Age. A regular blogger on Huffington Post,, and CMFI’s own Companies and Causes – David Hessekiel has demonstrated a strong conviction that companies can simultaneously build a better world and their bottom line.

    The recipient of a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Hessekiel is a former journalist, publishing and consumer marketing executive and consultant. The father of two daughters, Hessekiel lives in Rye, New York with his wife, the writer, Andrea Atkins Hessekiel.

    Bennett Weiner serves as chief operating officer of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. In this capacity, he manages all aspects of the organization that monitors and reports on charitable organizations that solicit nationally.  Mr. Weiner has been engaged in BBB charity evaluation activities since 1980. He oversees the publication of the Wise Giving Guide magazine, written reports on national charities, and provides guidance to local charity evaluation activities carried out by Better Business Bureaus. Over the years, he has been interviewed or quoted in numerous print and broadcast media. Mr. Weiner has testified before U.S. Congressional Committees on various charity accountability issues. From 1998-2001 The NonProfit Times included him in its annual list of Top 50 influential nonprofit executives. In 2005, he won the BBB Meritorious Service Award – an annual award given to individuals in the Better Business Bureau system. Mr. Weiner has participated in a variety of advisory committees addressing charity accountability matters. In 2010, he was appointed to the newly formed Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee of the Financial Accounting Standards Board.



    Janice Kopec is an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission with the Division of Marketing Practices.  Her work has focused on consumer protection issues in a wide variety of areas, including business opportunities, disclosures, phantom debt and telemarketing.  She has also served as a counsel to the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection and is currently the Program Coordinator for Do Not Call Enforcement.  In that capacity, she supports cases involving assorted violations of the FTC’s Do Not Call rules, coordinates the FTC’s Do Not Call enforcement efforts and conducts consumer and industry outreach.  She is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Washington and Lee University Law School. 

    Nageeb Sumar serves as Deputy Director on the Philanthropic Partnerships Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He oversees the foundation’s work on policy, systems and innovation in philanthropy. Prior to joining the Philanthropic Partnerships Team in September 2015, Nageeb served as a Senior Program Officer on the Donor Government Relations team, where he led the Foundation’s engagement with Canada, Australia, Japan and Korea. Prior to joining the Gates Foundation in 2009, Nageeb worked at Oxfam America on microfinance and market access issues.

    Jacob Harold is the President & CEO of GuideStar, the world’s largest source of information about nonprofits.  Each year 7 million people seek answers from GuideStar’s 2.5 billion pieces of data.  Earlier in his career, he worked as grantmaker, strategist and campaigner at the Hewlett Foundation, the Bridgespan Group, the Packard Foundation, Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, and Green Corps.

    He earned an AB summa cum laude from Duke University and an MBA from Stanford University.  Harold is also a graduate of the Complex Systems Summer School at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

    Michael Thatcher provides direction and leadership at Charity Navigator as they strive to guide intelligent giving and advance a more effective and responsive philanthropic marketplace in which donors and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome the world’s most persistent challenges.

    Prior to joining Charity Navigator Michael spent more than 15 years with Microsoft, the last 10 of which as their Public Sector Chief Technology Officer (CTO) responsible for technology policy initiatives and engagements with government and academic leaders in the Asia, Middle-East and Africa.  Based in Singapore from 2010-15, he led a team of nationally focused CTOs and technical development strategists across greater Asia.

    Over the years Michael has held various board seats within the nonprofit sector focused on humanitarian issues, the arts, the environment and information technology standards development.  His experiences also include technically supporting oceanographic research for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and co-founding and directing the international performing arts organization, Dance Music Light.  He holds several patents in enterprise systems management and has a degree in Music from Columbia University in New York.

    Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling author of Data Driven Nonprofits.  MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and on National Public Radio. MacLaughlin serves on the board of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events. Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.

    Elizabeth Grant is the Attorney-in-Charge of the Charitable Activities Section at the Oregon Attorney General’s Office and a past President of the National Association of State Charities Officials.  She joined the Oregon Department of Justice in 2003.  Prior to that, she worked as an attorney in the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection in Washington, DC, where she developed and litigated federal enforcement actions involving deceptive and unlawful business practices.  



    Andrew Watt. The social sector has been Andrew's core focus all his life. He's served the fundraising community for 25 years. During that time, he's represented our communities in Brussels, Westminster, on the Hill in Washington and Ottawa, as well as around the globe. Above all else, he's been a connector and thought leader for fundraising communities worldwide.

    Andrew is a collaborative driver of change; in culture, in understanding, in regulation and assessment of impact. He's worked to develop a greater understanding of what drives our sector and what it takes to achieve impact in an increasingly volatile and rapidly changing environment.

    Most recently, Andrew served as president & CEO of AFP from 2011-2016. Perhaps the thing he is proudest of has been helping to reconnect fundraisers and members with the heart of AFP- ensuring their voices are heard - and valued; putting the qualities of honesty, openness and integrity at the forefront of AFP's relationships with the world.

    Today, Andrew is reconnecting with the values that brought him into the social sector; advocating for a fair, just society in which equal opportunity and choice for all are seen as critical elements of our world.

    Andrew serves as a member of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT); a Board member of National Philanthropic Trust - UK; continues as a member of the Public Policy Committee of the Independent Sector and is Chair of the American Friends of Winchester College. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and is married, with two adult daughters.

    Marc Owens, Partner, Loeb & Loeb, LLP, Washington, DC.  Marc is currently a lawyer in private practice specializing in tax-exempt organizations matters.  Before entering private practice, Marc was employed by the Internal Revenue Service for 25 years in the Exempt Organizations Division, for the last ten of which he was the Director of the Division.

    Art Taylor.  Art oversees the organization’s work setting standards for soliciting organizations, evaluating charities, publishing the Wise Giving Guide, advising Better Business Bureaus, administering the charity seal program, publishing the #wisegivingwed blog, producing the BBB WGA Building Trust Video Series and engaging in collaborations to assist donors and encourage trustworthiness.  He is a featured speaker at charity gatherings and is a media source. He has testified before both U.S. House and Senate committees offering guidance on ways to improve trustworthiness of charities.  He has been named 4 times to the Non Profit Times list of the Power and Influence top 50 and is in  its Hall of Fame.  Art is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, 1980, and received an honorary Dr. of Laws in 2002. He acquired a J.D. from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.

    Allison Grayson joined Independent Sector as director of policy development and analysis in 2013, where she develops public policies to increase the capacity of nonprofits to fulfill their missions. Prior to joining Independent Sector, Allison served as a legislative analyst with the Administration for Children and Families, where she worked with Congress to support $23.5 billion in federal programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start, and the Social Security Block Grant. Her experience with state and local nonprofit organizations began in in 2003, working with state nonprofit associations in Minnesota and Alabama on sector-wide issues. She then joined United Way, where she led coalitions that secured $11 million in federal funding to prevent chronic health conditions, delivered 4,600 services in one day to people experiencing homelessness, and served 10,000 Hurricane Gustav evacuees. Allison holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota. When she is not crusading on behalf of nonprofits, you can find Allison painting, hiking with her husband D.J., and pursuing her Ph.D. in public policy at George Mason University. Allison Grayson joined Independent Sector as director of policy development and analysis in 2013, where she develops public policies to increase the capacity of nonprofits to fulfill their missions. Prior to joining Independent Sector, Allison served as a legislative analyst with the Administration for Children and Families, where she worked with Congress to support $23.5 billion in federal programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start, and the Social Security Block Grant. Her experience with state and local nonprofit organizations began in in 2003, working with state nonprofit associations in Minnesota and Alabama on sector-wide issues. She then joined United Way, where she led coalitions that secured $11 million in federal funding to prevent chronic health conditions, delivered 4,600 services in one day to people experiencing homelessness, and served 10,000 Hurricane Gustav evacuees. Allison holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota. When she is not crusading on behalf of nonprofits, you can find Allison painting, hiking with her husband D.J., and pursuing her Ph.D. in public policy at George Mason University.

    Sue Santa is one of the nonprofit sector’s leading experts on advocacy, policy, legislative and regulatory issues. She has served in senior leadership positions with both Council on Foundations and The Philanthropy Roundtable. Her knowledge of policy, government relations and law is broad and diverse, with professional experience in for-profit, nonprofit and government. Prior to her work serving philanthropic organizations, she spent nearly a decade with NASCAR/International Speedway Corporation, working on government relations, legal and business development. Sue practiced law at a leading D.C. law, government relations and lobbying firm. Her first experience in Washington D.C. was on the staff of United States Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and she retains her standing in the New Mexico Bar. Sue is currently an adjunct faculty instructor at Columbia University School of Professional Studies, where she teaches policy and advocacy. She is a consultant on philanthropic, policy and development issues. Sue earned her JD from Washington University and her B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Mark Pacella received his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and J.D. from the Antioch School of Law. A member of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General since 1987, he currently serves as the Chief Deputy Attorney General of its Charitable Trusts and Organizations Section, which performs the office’s supervisory role over property committed to charitable purposes. Several of the office’s notable cases have involved the Milton Hershey School Trust, the Barnes Foundation, and the Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation (AHERF). Mr. Pacella is a Past-President of the National Association of State Charity Officials (“NASCO,” an affiliate of the National Association of Attorneys General), and served on the Advisory Board of the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School. He currently serves as a NASCO liaison to Part II of the American Law Institute’s project on the Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations, is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, a frequent course planner and faculty member at a number of nonprofit and charitable trust conferences, and a veteran of the United States Navy.



    Charles A. Harwood is the Regional Director of the FTC’s Northwest Regional Office in Seattle. He joined the FTC in 1989 and served as a deputy director in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection from 2009 to 2013.  Prior to joining the FTC, Mr. Harwood was a staff counsel with the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  Mr. Harwood obtained his law degree at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and received a B.A. from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.  He is a member of the Oregon and District of Columbia Bars.


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