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NY Charities Bureau issues new guidance on solicitation disclosure requirements

The New York State Charities Bureau’s recent guidance details some of the disclosure requirements of section 172-b of the Executive Law. This guidance does little more than restate the language already in the Executive Law. Also worth mentioning, there was an update to 174-b of the Executive Law, that became effective on March 21, 2019. This update mainly added this disclosure requirement: “a statement identifying the website and telephone number of the New York state office of the attorney general where an individual can receive information on charitable organizations.” It also seems the only thing being clarified in this guidance is the phone number of the Attorney General. (“Include the phone number of the Attorney General - (212) 416-8686 - where an individual may get information about charities.”)

In any case, this guidance may be the bureau’s way to emphasizing these requirements. Little, if any, enforcement of disclosure requirements have taken place in the past, but that may change. I would advise all charitable organizations to review the disclosure requirements with management to ensure compliance going forward.

The Items in the guidance, as stated by the bureau’s communication, are as follows:

  • Include a clear description of the programs and activities for which contributions are solicited, or include a statement that such a description may, upon request, be obtained from the organization.

  • Include a statement that a copy of the organization’s latest annual financial report may be obtained from the organization or from the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau's Website – www.charitiesnys.com – or from the organization and include the address of the organization to which a request should be addressed.

  • Include the phone number of the Attorney General - (212) 416-8686 - where an individual may get information about charities.

  • If the solicitation is conducted by a Professional Fund Raiser; or a Professional Solicitor, such as an individual employed by a Professional Fund Raiser to solicit contributions by phone or door-to-door, the solicitation must also include:

  • The name of the Professional Fund Raiser, as registered with the Charities Bureau, and a statement that the solicitation is being conducted by a Professional Fund Raiser, and

  • If applicable, the name of the Professional Solicitor, as registered with the Charities Bureau, conducting the solicitation and a statement that the solicitor is being paid to solicit contributions.

  • If a solicitation is in writing, the above disclosures must be placed conspicuously in the solicitation material in at least ten-point bold face type or, in the alternative, typeface that is no smaller than the size of the print used for most of the words in the disclosures.

You can see the original communication from the Bureau here

https://www.charitiesnys.com/pdfs/disclosure_notice.pdf