News & Updates

 

Wise Giving Wednesday: Robocalls for Charity

Jan 6, 2021

Few people enjoy receiving telemarketing calls. No matter what is being offered, they can interrupt and become especially annoying if they become frequent. You might already be aware that 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 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.

Regarding pre-recorded calls, also known as robocalls, FTC rules that took effect in 2009 prohibit most prerecorded telemarketing calls 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. 

Despite these rules, robocall volume continues to grow. In a report adopted by the Federal Communications Commission on December 29, 2020, the Commission noted that combating robocalls was its top priority and issued new requirements that will help further expand robocall blocking efforts. Not only can these calls annoy, but they can “defraud and lead to identify theft.”  The new rules would impact commercial, non-commercial and nonprofit organizations. They now will be required to limit their calls to three per residential number within 30 days. Additional rules have been created for voice service providers to address illegal call sources.

If someone is interested in donating to a charity that is using individual or robocalls to raise funds, BBB Wise Giving Alliance advises donors of the following:

  • Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate gift decision.
  • Get the exact name of the charity, since some names may sound alike.
  • Make more informed giving decisions by visiting Give.org. See if there is a report on the subject charity that indicates if they meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • Visit the charity’s website and see if they provide access to information on their activities, governing board and finances.
  • Verify if the charity is registered to solicit in your state. About 40 states have such requirements that are administered by either the Office of the Attorney General or the Office of the Secretary of State.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring an interview with Miki Jordan, President & CEO of Wayfinder Family Services (a BBB Accredited Charity), which offers services for individuals of all ages with vision loss and, often, additional disabilities through the organization's early intervention, education, recreation, mental health, workforce readiness and rehabilitation services.


Recent Reports

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 www.give.org/charity-inquiry 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