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Reminder: A Fundraiser's Duties Under the FTC Do Not Call List

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - July 18, 2003) - Since the beginning of July, hundreds of thousands of individuals have placed their names on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Do Not Call Registry. While charities and for-profit fundraisers who work on their behalf are exempt from the registry's requirements, there are other new changes to the law with which they must comply.

The Do Not Call Registry is just one of several amendments to what is called the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule, which regulates how telemarketers can interact with the public.

In addition to the Do Not Call Registry, the amendments contain several changes that for-profit fundraisers working on a charity's behalf must adhere to:

  • Individuals can only be called between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Individuals must promptly be told - before making a pitch - the identity of the charity and that the call is a charitable solicitation.
  • All material information about the solicitation must be disclosed.
  • Deception about any terms of the gift/solicitation is strictly prohibited.

The most important new requirements is that for-profit fundraisers must honor individual do not call requests. That is, if an individual asks to not be called by a particular charity, that charity and/or for-profit acting on its behalf must comply and ensure that the individual is not contacted again.

The Telemarketing Sales Rule also restricts unauthorized billing (telemarketers must receive an individual's informed consent before billing charges), limits abandoned calls or 'dead air' time and requires telemarketers to transmit their telephone number and if possible, their name, to an individuals' caller ID service.

Charities and fundraisers should also understand that the FTC Do Not Call Registry is a federal program. The FTC Do Not Call Registry and related regulations do not supplant relevant state laws or requirements regarding telemarketing activities. Telemarketers should not assume that compliance with the federal requirements is sufficient -- always check state law.

Some states are in the process of developing their own do not call lists. While most states exempt charities, a few do not and some require for-profit telemarketers working on behalf of charities to use the state list. AFP is currently developing a list of states and their requirements.

For more information, visit the FTC website.

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