Charity Website Disclosures
In today’s world of technology and the World Wide Web, almost all charities have a website. If your charity has a website, here are a few tips regarding charity website disclosures that are recommended:
The organization should make the following accessible to visitors of their website:
1) Mission statement of the organization
2) Summary of the organization’s programs
3) Roster of Directors and Officers
4) Link to the organization’s most recent form 990 (minus Schedule B)
5) Summary of finances of the past fiscal year (Annual Report)
Some organizations go for full transparency and may include a copy or link to their organization’s formation documents: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, IRS Determination Letter, etc. These documents are not required or necessary to disclose and can subject the organization to other scrutiny by the public and private sector. Therefore, we recommend making them available on the organization’s website only after careful consideration of the pros and cons.
Solicitation Related Disclosures
If the organization’s website includes a donate here button, the organization may be subject to charitable solicitation registration requirements. Many states follow the Charleston Principles but others do not. Therefore, the organization may need to review what state the donor(s) that donate through the webpage come from and determine if registration is required in those state(s). The organization will also need to consider whether it receives contributions from the state on a repeated and ongoing basis or a substantial basis through its website. If so, then the organization either needs to get registered as soon as possible or include a disclosure statement on the donate page to omit donations from residents of those states where the charity is not registered. In addition, the organization should have a link to the state required written disclosure statements regarding registration and location of financial records. If the charity accepts quid pro quo donations on its website, it must also ensure that the disclosures for quid pro quo donations are provided to donors.
Privacy Related Disclosures
Following these tips will help charitable organizations create informative, transparent, and compliant websites that communicate a culture of accountability and stewardship to both donors and regulators.