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Florida Considering Tightening the Reigns on Charities and Fundraisers

Rememdownload (1)ber when we told you about the nation’s 50 worst charities? Florida’s lawmakers noticed that 11 of those worst offenders were based in Florida. In an effort to clean up Florida’s charities, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has proposed a plan to tighten regulations on Florida’s charities and for-profit fundraisers. (The state charity registrar in Florida is the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.)

The plan, sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes and Representative Jim Boyd, vastly increases public disclosure for charities and solicitors. The new plan would require charitable fundraisers to:

  1. Provide to the charities they work for copies of solicitation scripts, locations and phone numbers from which calls are made, and details about the percentage of funds raised that actually go to the charities.
  2. Have each employee fingerprinted and background checked in order to enable enforcement of Florida’s existing law prohibiting solicitor’s from hiring felons.

But it’s not just solicitors that will feel the reigns tighten. Charities that raise $1 million or more annually and spend less than 25% of their proceeds on their charitable activity would have to submit detailed reports about where the money went. This information would be publicly available on an online database.

Many charities have signed on in support of the proposed law. Opponents to the proposed law argue that the legislation be less onerous. For example, opponents argue that the law should not govern calls that originate in Florida but are placed to out-of-state recipients.