Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

American Charities for Reasonable Fundraising Regulation Inc

  • Roanoke, VA
  • www.charityreg.org

Mission Statement

A coalition of nonprofit organizations, their national associations and their supporters formed for the purpose of combating excessive regulation of nonprofits and of fundraising by means of litigation. Legitimate nonprofits and fund-raisers applaud appropriate law enforcement activity aimed at fraudulent charity scams.  ACFRFR will only challenge regulations which are unnecessary, excessive, duplicative, and expensive when those jurisdictions, which promulgate such regulations, refuse to listen to reason.

ruling year

1991

Pro-Bono General Counsel since 1995

Self-reported

Dr. Geoffrey W Peters Esq.

Keywords

Self-reported

USA

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EIN

22-3096395

 Number

1759563341

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

On August 25, 1997, the litigation coalition filed suit in Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Pinellas County, Florida.   ACFRFR sued both in its own name (having been assigned the rights of a fundraiser) and in a representative capacity.  The lawsuit alleged that the requirement of registration in PinellasCounty by all charitable fundraisers was unconstitutional for several reasons.A second lawsuit was brought against Pinellas County on behalf of charities objecting to the intrusiveness and burden of the Pinellas County regulation as well as the lack of jurisdiction of PinellasCounty to regulate Internet solicitations.  This challenge was made under the First Amendment and the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.ACFRFR won both lawsuits and the attorney's fees awarded to Geoffrey Peters, Pro-bono General Counsel were donated to ACFRFR.The Ryan (Madigan) v. Telemarketing Associates case went to the Supreme Court of the United States after the Attorney General of Illinois appealed an adverse decision by the Supreme Court of Illinois.  It was described as the most significant legal case affecting nonprofits and fundraising in the past decade.  ACFRFR coordinated the filing of three amicus curiae (“Friend of the Court”) briefs.  The first brief was signed only by nonprofit organizations.  It focused primarily on the 1st Amendment free speech rights of nonprofits and the importance of the precedent set in the Riley case.  The second brief was signed only by umbrella organizations in the nonprofit and fundraising community.  It focused on problems with using the “cost of fundraising ratio” as the measure of a charity.  The third brief was signed only by commercial fundraising organizations.  It focused on how fundraising actually works and the complications of various media and methods and why “one size fits all” solutions are too simplistic and unrealistic to be used by an Attorney General seeking to find a “bright line test” for fraud.The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that high costs of fundraising were not, by themselves, fraudulent.Another action, similar to the Pinellas County litigation was initiated against the State of Utah in 2008.  It is still pending.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

TO ENGAGE IN EDUCATION OF THE PUBLIC AND OF THE GOVERNMENT REGULATORS; DISCUSSION AND NEGOTIATION WITH REGARD TO PROPOSED REGULATIONS; AND, WHEN NECESSARY, LITIGATION INTENDED TO ELIMINATE EXCESSIVE, UNREASONABLE AND EGREGIOUS REGULATION.

Category

Population(s) Served

Budget

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External Reviews

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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

American Charities for Reasonable Fundraising Regulation Inc

Leadership

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Pro-Bono General Counsel

Dr. Geoffrey W Peters Esq.

BIO

See www.charityreg.org or www.gpeters.net

STATEMENT FROM THE Pro-Bono General Counsel

"The Nonprofit Litigation Coalition was initially conceived of and formed by representatives of nonprofits and fundraisers when they grew frustrated with the attitude of certain state regulators who said or showed they were “not interested in the viewpoints of the charities being regulated.”The Board of Directors of ACFRFR selects which cases to pursue.  It also selects which lawyers to hire to pursue these cases based on the experience, competence, price, and location of the lawyer.  Lawyers who have been involved with the coalition to date have donated countless hours to help nonprofits and others create this vehicle.  Everything from awarded legal fees to staff time to postage to office space to printed letterhead to a telephone line has been donated.  The Coalition is run by and for nonprofit organizations seeking to put some balance back into the regulatory equation.  According to a recent article in Advancing Philanthropy Magazine, the annual costs of compliance now exceed $3.2 billion per year with national nonprofits engaged in direct response fundraising spending an average of  more than $22,000 per year.  Thus, many nonprofit managers feel it is their fiduciary duty to their donors and other supporters to refuse to cooperate with unconstitutional, illegal, unnecessary, expensive and excessive regulation."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. John Cain

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?