Charities and Paid Fundraisers
The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for regulating all charitable solicitations in Vermont or directed to Vermonters. From this page, you can access general information on charitable fundraising, view data on how much of your contribution goes to the paid fundraiser and how much goes to the charity, obtain paid fundraiser forms (for paid fundraisers), read reports relating to charities and charitable fundraising, and link to related websites.
2015 Report on Paid Fundraising in Vermont
December 3, 2015: The Attorney General’s Office has released a report analyzing paid fundraising data for the past three fiscal years, July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015, and outlining enforcement actions completed during that time.
Nonprofit Board Guidance
November 4th, 2015: Attorney General Bill Sorrell released a guidebook that provides practical information to board members who run nonprofits in order to help them better navigate their work. This guidebook, entitled “Understand your Responsibilities: Guidance for Board Members of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations in Vermont”, gives current and prospective board members an overview of their legal and ethical responsibilities, along with best practices for all nonprofit boards.
Any inquiries regarding this guidebook can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information for Consumers and Prospective Donors
If you have been contacted to make a charitable donation, you should consider where your donation will go. Ask the charity for written information about how your donation will be used and how the charity uses its funds, generally. Also, read the “Tips for Smart Consumers” linked below.
If the charity has hired a fundraiser – and many charities that raise funds via phone calls contract with paid fundraisers – you can check what percentage of your donation will go to the fundraiser instead of the charity in the “Data from Paid Fundraisers” Excel sheets, linked below. The last report from the Attorney General’s Office, linked below, showed that over 70% of the millions of dollars raised for charities by paid fundraisers went to the fundraisers. The caller should have informed you if they were calling from a paid fundraiser on behalf of a charity.
To properly read these sheets, first open the “Header Data” page, which will give a brief explanation of the two Data From Paid Fundraisers sheets.
- Header Data from the Paid Fundraiser Reports
- Data From Paid Fundraisers – sorted by Charity Name (clicking this link will automatically download a searchable Excel spreadsheet) – (last updated March 15, 2018)
- Data From Paid Fundraisers – sorted by Fundraiser (clicking this link will automatically download a searchable Excel spreadsheet) – (last updated March 15, 2018)
For outside “ratings” of charities based on how they use their funds, you can check the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability or Charity Navigator.
Under Vermont’s Charitable Solicitations Law, 9 V.S.A. § 2471 et seq., paid fundraisers for charities must file a “notice of solicitation” with the Attorney General’s Office in advance of each campaign. Along with this filing, paid fundraisers must:
- File a post-campaign financial report listing applicable expenses and the total amount of compensation they received for their solicitation work;
- Post a $20,000 bond that runs to the State or any person with a cause of action against the paid fundraiser for violations of Vermont’s Charitable Solicitations Law;
- Make specific disclosures when soliciting donations, including identifying themselves as a paid fundraiser and informing potential donors about where to get further information about paid fundraisers;
- Comply with charity contract, , including having the charity approve the solicitation materials, script approval, and supplying the charity with the names of all donors to the campaign.
- In addition, fundraisers and charities are prohibited from making misrepresentations to prospective donors, including the purpose of their call and their relationship with the charity. The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing the Law. For more information on these requirements and prohibitions, please consult Vermont’s Charitable Solicitations Law and Consumer Protection Rule(CP) 119.From this screen, you can access general information on charitable fundraising, obtain paid fundraiser forms, read reports relating to charities and charitable fundraising, check a database that sets out the minimum (or actual) percentage of donations that will go (went) to the charity in each fundraiser-conducted charitable campaign, and link to related websites.
Information for Paid Fundraisers
Paid Fundraisers should review the Paid Fundraiser page for more information.
Laws and Regulations
- 2015 Where Have All the Dollars Gone? An Updated Report on Paid Fundraising in Vermont
- 2012 Where Have All the Dollars Gone? A Report on Paid Fundraising in Vermont (2010-2012)
- Where Have All the Dollars Gone (2009)? A Report on Paid Fundraising in Vermont (2006-2009)
- Report on Paid Fundraising in Vermont A Report on Paid Fundraising in Vermont (1993-1997)
- What’s in a Nonprofit’s Name? Public Trust, Profit and the Potential for Public Deception
A Preliminary Multistate Report on Nonprofit Product Marketing – ( April 1999)