FTC/NASCO Conference on Consumers, Contributions and Charity

On March 21, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) hosted Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity, a conference exploring charitable solicitations and consumer protection issues.

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Combatting Charity Fraud – Enforcement Issues
  • The State of Giving Today – An Overview of Charities and Donors
  • Why Give? A Look at What Motivates Giving
  • Future of Fundraising – Emerging Challenges for Donors & Regulators
  • Navigating Charitable Giving Today – Current Donor Choices and Challenges
  • Data for Good – Empowering Donors Through Education
  • Safeguarding Donors from Fraud and Deception – Identifying Possibilities and Priorities

Selected Highlights:

  • Karen Gano (NASCO): Our laws are designed for the 20th century and that doesn’t quite work.
  • Many States Don’t Have a Full-Time Charity Regulator, Report Says – Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer: There are currently no notable social media viral campaign scandals but there are open questions.
  • More info on PayPal class action suit: Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • Future of fundraising: augmented reality – Medium
  • Future of fundraising: virtual reality – Amnesty
  • Future of fundraising: livestream – Forbes
  • Immersive journalism – Fast Co.
  • Fundraising on #Twitch – Streamer News
  • Fundraising on @Patreon – Philanthropy Times
  • Cindy Lott: Will statutes be relevant if they focus on nonprofits & not individuals raising money for causes?
  • Given how quickly crowdfunding is growing & changing throughout the world, what should we learn from other countries? China is currently the most advanced.
  • Rachel Hatch: Consumers will become producers with personal economies.
  • Daniel Gordon (GoFundMe): Crowdfunding sites can guide campaign organizers towards compliance; detect high risk activities; evidence early donor activity to establish trust; make it easy to contact campaign organizers; and provide guaranties to donors.
  • Be careful of crowdfunding after a tragedy or disaster – Nonprofit Quarterly
  • Marcus Owens: IRS should use Internal Revenue Manual to instruct revenue agents & guide outsiders on charity compliance
  • Art Taylor: Encourage charities to use best practices & reduce the risk of charities devolving into fraudulent behavior

Up Next:

I’ll be speaking on crowdfunding at the annual NASCO Conference in October. Stay tuned.