April 19, 2017

Wise Giving Wednesday: If You Don’t Want Charities to Call

Many charities raise funds using telemarketing and do so responsibly, but there are others that some donors find annoying for a variety of reasons including the timing and frequency of the phone appeals. If you fall into this group and are seeking ways to reduce your charity telemarketing calls here are some tips to keep in mind.

As many of you have probably heard, the Federal Trade Commission maintains a National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov. By signing up and including your phone number, you can certainly reduce the volume of calls from businesses seeking to sell their services and wares, however, the registry does not apply to charities. Charities are not required to stop calling people on this Do Not Call listing. 

If a for-profit telemarketer calls on behalf of a charity, however, you can request that the telemarketer place you on their internal do not call list.  From that point on, the firm can no longer call you on behalf of that specific charity, but they can call on behalf of other charity clients. So the key is to be patient and persistent in making that request when you receive a charity call at home. Use the words “place me on your do not call list” and be sure to make note of the time, date, the name of the charity, the name of the telemarketing firm and the phone number they used. If they call again on behalf of that charity, you can file a complaint with FTC at www.ftc.gov.  The more info you include in your complaint, the easier it will be for the FTC to identify and target scammers for enforcement actions. 

Regarding prerecorded calls, FTC rules went into effect in September 2009, “prohibiting most prerecorded telemarketing calls, known as robocalls, unless the telemarketer has the consumer’s prior written authorization to transmit such calls.” This prohibition on robocalls applies to for-profit telemarketing firms calling on behalf of charities.  One additional rule that comes into effect as of May 12, 2017 relates to the use of something called “soundboard technology” which enables telemarketing calls to play prerecorded audio snippets in response to consumer questions or comments.  This new rule will also apply to telemarketing firms calling on behalf of charities that use this soundboard technology.  For further details see the FTC staff opinion letter: https://www.ftc.gov/policy/advisory-opinions/letter-lois-greisman-associate-director-division-marketing-practices 


As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video of Greg Anglea, Executive Director, of a regional charity, Interfaith Community Services (a BBB Accredited Charity) that offers programs in North San Diego that address (a) nutrition & basic needs, (b) employment, (c) housing, (d) addiction and recovery services and (e) self-sufficiency and support services. 


We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include: 

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.   

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance