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FTC to Explore Charitable Solicitations

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Americans are among the most generous people in the world, contributing more than $373 billion to charity in 2015, according to The Giving Institute. We’re all familiar with phone calls, mailers, and TV and radio spots seeking donations, but the times are changing. Evolving marketing practices and new technologies have introduced new ways to solicit contributions and donate.

That’s just one of the reasons the FTC and the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) are hosting a workshop on March 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

The event, Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity, will bring together regulators, researchers, charity watchdogs, donor advocates, and members of the nonprofit sector. Discussions will focus on how people evaluate and respond to various charitable solicitation practices and the role of consumer protection. For more information, please visit the workshop page.

In the meantime, consider these tips when asked to give: 

  • Donate to charities you know and trust and that have a proven track record.
  • Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization yourself.
  • When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate. The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but donations are not immediate. It can take as long as 90 days for the charity to receive the funds.
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


My problem is the number of mail solicitations I get throughout the year from any one charity that I have contributed to and then to add to all that junk mail is the fact that these charities apparently sell your name to another organization so the mail just piles up. Sometimes, I can't find my important mail among all this junk. I wish charities would just send a solicitation once a year, I am losing respect for these organizations and I also wonder about the marketing expense incurred and their real priorities - are they keeping overhead costs to a minimum or simply squandering our donations?

I have recently moved to Texas. Almost from my first mail delivery, I started receiving appeals for donations. I have enough name label stickers to cover my wall. I will never have to buy another greeting card and I have a supply of U.S. Flags. I am on a social security income and cannot afford to possibly donate to ALL the poor souls and organizations. I have begun to send the mail back with notation. "Please do not send any more merchandise."

I truly dislike 'charity request' mailings that seem to target the elderly, using scare tactic that social security or medicare are in danger.

Last year we received over 600 mailings from more than 200 "charities". We record who they came from if we get over 12 in a year that "charity" is automatically excluded. The other way to be thrown out is to send us a gift, when I give to a non profit I give because they are doing good work not because they gave me something

I truly detest the pushy types of phone solicitations and repeated mailings for contributions. Some of us are not financial stable enough to contribute to all the different charities. It should be monitored by honest and sensible personnel.

Charities are big bussiness. Most of CEO`s make over $100,000. Only donate to the ones that are helping so much they end up putting themselves out of business

I am senior disabled with low income. I give more than 15-20% of my income as a moral practice. I am constantly bombarded by phone calls, mail, emails, etc that overwhelm my life to despair. Junk mail is a burden and sometimes oppressive for seniors, disabled and medically challenged. My mother was overwhelmed to stop eating with calls, mail, etc. & disconnected her phone to stop calls. She almost died when she fell & had no phone.

Ditto what Joe Ann said. Early November I started a personal campaign to stop the mailings. I spent a lot of money on stamps, which I consider my contribution to the environment. I wrote on the "make a donation " form to remove all names and our address from their lists. I wrote to almost 50 orgs. By now I've sent three requests to several orgs. Sadly the worst offenders are orgs with valuable intentions, such as animal protection and children's health. Definitely ever since my husband donated to Wounded Warrior, he gets mail from "veterans charities " (I'm skeptical they are legit) as well as children's hospitals. Plus WW has two versions of my husband's name, so of course we receive double their mail, and they continue to ignore my written requests to fix their databases. But as Joe Ann and others here say, they still send lovely stuff that we could buy on their websites, and save money, trees, and my nerves. I myself receive mail with my deceased mother's name. Seriously. And I have notified these groups that she is dead (hoping someone will read it and fix the problem). My dear mom continues to receive mail. I am sick of the waste these groups spend on marketing. I stopped giving to ASPCA for this and other reasons. And, Tobroketogive, it's these orgs that should be giving YOU a hand.

I have called such Charities as Doctors Without Borders and asked that they send one solicitation per year by mail. I only give by snail mail. Doctors Without Borders among others have honored this request. Also I use Charity Navigator to try to evaluate charities, but there are so many charities with the same name or close enough, I may still make poor decisions.,

I have a real problem with charities that send nickels and dimes to entice you to add your own money to this ploy. I'm sure this money adds up. I've tried to send it back but post office just returns. I save money and contribute it to church. I will never send money to charities that send money, bags, books, stickers, etc., to try to get donations. They should save that money and put to good use.

why is it so hard to use the FTC web site and enter data that needs to be heard and known about with out getting booted all the time. This site is just as BAD you need to make it more USER FRIENDLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How about just making charities abide by the same Do Not Call regulations that job producing businesses have to abide by? That would be a good start; I'm tired of these guys hiding behind the law and refusing to remove me from their telemarketing list.

Received a phone call solicitating $ for an organization calling themselves helping hands
Call came in with unknown caller
after letting guy ...... bs i asked for his name and number
and he hung up

Unfortunately, they will never stop. You're wasting your time and stamps. Once they know you really do exist they'll happily double mail to you. Just toss it and forget it, I'm afraid there are very few who will actually remove you from lists. The other option is to toss them all into a box and go through it in December; choose the few you want to support and send your check and forget again till the following year. You can retrieve the nickels and stamps if you want. Good luck.

To date I have received 100 plus requests for donations..I just sorted them and all of them are from past donations I have made. 3 have comes attached, 1 has nickel, 15 or more have name labels,pads,etc. I have stopped donating because of the selling of my name or giving of my name to other orgs.
If these charities want our donations they must be a little less aggressive and limit their requests. Some of these requests have final. notice/ reminders/rush / . Please stop this practice so I can choose my donations when I have the money to donate..............

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