Final New York Fundraising Rules More Positive for Charities
(April 21, 2003)- In a partial victory for the fundraising profession, modifications have been made to the final version of new regulations in New York concerning the registration and reporting requirements for charities and professional fundraisers.
Last year, the New York Attorney General's Office issued proposed regulations that would have, among other items, required charities to secure at least three competitive bids when seeking to hire a third-party fundraiser or solicitor. As a result of comments submitted by AFP and other groups, this burdensome requirement has been eliminated. However, the attorney general is apparently still reviewing objections to the three-bid requirements, and charities may see such a mandate reappear in future proposed changes to the registration statutes.
Another modification to the final regulations involves the requirement that a professional fundraiser disclose his or her primary residence address. Noting that this requirement could violate an individual's right to privacy, the State has changed this requirement to mandate disclosure of the primary business address or other location at which the fundraiser may be 'regularly located.'
In addition, under the proposed regulations, charities would have been required to submit information to the State about all fundraising contracts into which they enter. However, charities are already required to submit copies of all of their contracts to the state. Because the requested information would have duplicated what is already disclosed, the new rules now require charities to file summary information only.
While some of these changes are positive, AFP is still concerned with many other provisions of the new regulations. For example, the rules still require a third-party fundraiser to disclose possibly sensitive and revealing information about its business operations. The amount of information requested is burdensome, and its usefulness is questionable (e.g., postage and shipping costs, office rent and insurance costs, costs of list rentals and computer/data processing fees). Disclosure of this data will not help the state better protect the public.
AFP will continue to work with chapters in New York to attempt to make additional changes to the regulations, if possible. AFP submitted comments about the regulations last year and coordinated efforts to send letters and make phone calls to appropriate offices. AFP appreciates the work of all its chapters and members in New York (as well as those outside of the state) who assisted on this issue.
A copy of the final regulations, as well as an assessment of the public comments about the regulations, are available below.