Heightened Review of Fundraising Appeals

November 19, 2012 Posted by The Law Firm for Non-Profits, P.C. in Board, Director Duties, Fundraising, News

Have you ever wondered whether fundraising campaigns actually help nonprofits? The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (BBB) is worried too, and recently announced its initiative to verify the truthfulness of these campaigns.

The BBB is especially concerned about nonprofits failing to adequately oversee paid fundraisers, which the BBB believes frequently use misleading tactics to create successful campaigns. To carry out its program, the BBB plans to request campaign literature samples at random from charities and will also request and review all direct mail and telemarketing scripts used by those charities that have been the subject of significant inquiry and complaints. The BBB will then use the results of its investigations as part of its charity accountability standards.

Along with its announcement, the BBB provided seven tips for how nonprofits can help strengthen fundraising oversight:

1.    The board of directors should review all major fundraising agreements
2.    The charity should have a contractual right to terminate all fundraising agreements within a reasonable length of time
3.    The charity should review all direct mail and telemarketing copy before its use
4.    The board should be provided with periodic updates about campaign results
5.    Competitive bids should always be considered before contracting for significant fundraising work
6.    Charities should never rely on a single method to raise funds, but should diversify
7.    Charities should own the list of donors acquired through a fundraising firm’s efforts

You can search for specific BBB charity reviews here and file a complaint against a charity that you believe is using misleading or false statements in its campaign here.

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Casey Summar, Partner, The Law Firm for Non-Profits,1812 W Burbank Blvd, #7445, Burbank, CA 91506

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