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Regulation of US Charitable Solicitations Since 1954

  • Putnam BarberEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

A major shift in the climate for the solicitation of charitable donations in the United States occurred in the second half of the twentieth century. Starting with legislation passed by the Legislatures of New York and Massachusetts in 1954 and eventually including 40 largely similar laws in force today, state governments grew to playing a predominant part in the regulation of appeals for public support for charitable activities. State regulators, voluntary oversight and advocacy groups, accounting standards-setting bodies, and the data-collection activities of the Internal Revenue Service all influenced the development of the body of regulations which now shape the process of seeking support for nonprofits’ work. This article summarizes the effect of earlier innovations in the field of fundraising and then examines the interplay of public and private actors in the course of the creation of the present regulatory climate.

Keywords

Charitable solicitations Regulation by US states Voluntary oversight organizations Accounting rules and standards Fraud and abuse of charitable status 

Résumé

Un changement d’ambiance majeur s’est produit aux États-Unis durant la seconde moitié du 20ème siècle en ce qui concerne des sollicitations de dons de bienfaisance. Débutant avec les lois adoptées par les législatures de New York et du Massachusetts en 1954 pour finalement englober 40 lois largement similaires en vigueur aujourd’hui, les gouvernements des états en sont venus à jouer un rôle prédominant dans la régulation des appels au soutien public des activités de bienfaisance. Les organismes de réglementation des états, les groupes d’encadrement et de défense des intérêts des bénévoles, les organismes de normalisation comptable et les activités de collecte de données de l’administration fiscale (Internal Revenue Service) ont tous influencé le développement du corps réglementaire qui définit aujourd’hui le processus de recherche de soutiens destinés au travail bénévole. Cet article résume l’effet des innovations passées dans le domaine de la collecte de fonds puis examine l’interaction entre les acteurs publics et privés au cours de l’élaboration du dispositif réglementaire actuel.

Zusammenfassung

In der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts war in den USA eine wesentliche Veränderung im Rahmen von Spendenaufrufen zu wohltätigen Zwecken zu beobachten. Seit der 1954 in New York und Massachusetts verabschiedeten Rechtsprechung, die letztendlich zu heute 40 geltenden sehr ähnlichen Gesetzen führte, gewann die Rolle der Staatsregierungen bei der Regulierung von Aufrufen zur öffentlichen Unterstützung gemeinnütziger Aktivitäten zunehmend an Bedeutung. Staatliche Regulierungsbehörden, freiwillige Aufsichts- und Interessensgruppen, Gremien für die Festlegung von Rechnungslegungsgrundsätzen und die Datenerfassungstätigkeiten der Finanzsteuerbehörde haben allesamt die Entwicklung des Regelwerks beeinflusst, welches nun die Verfahren im Rahmen der Bitte um Unterstützung der Arbeit gemeinnütziger Organisationen gestaltet. Dieser Beitrag verschafft einen Überblick über die Auswirkung früherer Innovationen im Bereich der Mittelbeschaffung und untersucht anschließend das Zusammenspiel öffentlicher und privater Akteure bei der Gestaltung des gegenwärtigen regulatorischen Klimas.

Resumen

En la segunda mitad del siglo XX, se produjo un cambio de importancia en el campo de las donaciones benéficas en los Estados Unidos. Comenzando con la legislación aprobada por las Asambleas Legislativas de Nueva York y Massachusetts en 1954 e incluyendo con el tiempo 40 leyes muy similares en vigor en la actualidad, los gobiernos estatales llegaron a desempeñar una parte predominante en la regulación de los llamamientos de apoyo público para actividades benéficas. Los reguladores estatales, los grupos de defensa y supervisión voluntarios, los organismos establecedores de normas responsables, y las actividades de recopilación de datos del Internal Revenue Service (Secretaría de Hacienda) todos ellos influyeron en el desarrollo del cuerpo reglamentario que ahora da forma al proceso de búsqueda de ayuda para el trabajo de las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro. Este documento resume el efecto de las primeras innovaciones en el campo de la recaudación de fondos y examina después la interacción de los actores públicos y privados en el curso de la creación del presente clima regulatorio.

摘要

美国的慈善捐款收取风气的一个重大转变,发生在上个世纪后半页。首先是 1954 年由纽约和马塞诸塞州立法机构通过的相关立法,如今已有 40 多项与之大体相近的法律,令各州政府在推动公众对慈善活动的支持方面开始扮演重要角色。州政府相关管理机构、志愿性质的监察和维权群体、制订会计标准的组织、以及美国国税局数据收集活动等,都对相关规管制度的制订过程带来了一定影响,这些制度如今左右着非盈利性机构获取公众支持的方式。本文总结了慈善筹款领域的一些早期创新带来的效果,然后分析了在形成当期规管局面的过程中,公共部门与私营部门之间的互动。

要約

アメリカでは20世紀後半に慈善寄付を依頼する環境に大きな変化が現れた。 州政府は、1954年のニューヨーク州およびマサチューセッツ州法で可決された法案および現在施行されている40もの類似する法律を含めて、慈善活動の公的支援を要請する法律に支配的な役割を担ってきた。州の監督庁、自発的な管理、権利擁護団体、会計基準設定審議会、国税庁のデータ収集活動はすべて、非営利的なサポートを求める過程のための規則の促進に影響を及ぼしたといえる。本論文では、資金調達分野におけるイノベーションの効果を要約して、現在の規定環境を構成する官民の関係者の相互作用を調査する。

ملخص

حدث تحول كبير في المناخ لإلتماس التبرعات الخيرية في الولايات المتحدة في النصف الثاني من القرن العشرين. بدءاً بالتشريعات التي أقرتها الهيئات التشريعية في نيويورك وولاية ماساتشوستس في عام 1954، وفي نهاية المطاف بما في ذلك 40 قوانين مماثلة إلى حد كبير في القوة اليوم، نمت حكومات الولاية لتلعب دوراً مهيمناً في التنظيم للنداءات من أجل الدعم العام للأنشطة الخيرية. مسؤولي الولاية والجماعات التطوعية في المراقبة وجماعات الدعوة والهيئات المعنية بوضع معايير المحاسبة وأنشطة جمع البيانات من “دائرة الإيرادات الداخلية” جميعهم أثروا في تطوير مجموعة اللوائح التي تشكل الآن عملية حشد الدعم للعمل الغير ربحي. هذا البحث يلخص أثر الإبتكارات السابقة في مجال جمع الأموال ومن ثم يدرس التفاعل بين الجهات الفاعلة العامة والخاصة في سياق خلق المناخ التنظيمي الحالي.

Notes

Acknowledgments

An earlier version of this paper was presented at “Reforming Fundraising Regulation” at the Australian Centre for Philanthropic and Nonprofit Studies, Queensland University of Technology, on April 19, 2011. Thanks are due for the comments received at that time and from three anonymous reviewers. I would also like to thank Frances Huehls for her good advice and generous assistance accessing the materials of the Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the reference librarians and other staff at Suzzallo Library, University of Washington. I have been assisted while doing the research on which this paper is based by Lucy Grace Barber, Evelyn Brody, William Suhs Cleveland, Marion Fremont-Smith, Carolyn Hojaboom, Dave Horn, Bill Huddleston, Terry Knowles, Wilson (“Bill”) Levis, Valerie Lynch, David Ormstedt, Seth Perlman, Geoff Peters, Steven Rathgeb Smith, Reed Stockman, Robert S. Tigner, and others. I am, of course, responsible for any errors or omissions which remain after their good attentions.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The John's Hopkins University 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center on Nonprofits and PhilanthropyThe Urban InstituteSeattleUSA

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