Posts Tagged: Charity

Recent Settlement Highlights Charity’s Duties in Commercial Co-Ventures

Recently, an Agreed Final Judgment was entered in Tennessee state court following an action by the Tennessee Attorney General (in conjunction with the AGs of 16 other states) against a TN charity concerning issues raised over a commercial co-venture program involving donations for teddy bears purchased to provide care packages to servicemembers. (more…)

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What Do You Need to Know about Commercial Co-Ventures?

Join me this Friday, February 16, from 1:00 to 2:30pm to learn the specific legal issues that are arising within commercial co-venture campaigns. With many companies today engaged in cause marketing, including commercial co-ventures in which a portion of their sales are donated to charity, it is important to know what cause marketing constitutes a commercial co-venture, how to comply with nationwide state laws, and how to identify and navigate specific legal issues that arise when contemplating a commercial co-venture campaign and their solutions. The webinar will also explore the charities’ obligations when involved in commercial co-ventures. (more…)

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Let’s Review Some Tricky Commercial Co-Venture Issues

From a quick Google search I see articles citing “at least 22” states have commercial co-venture laws; “over 30 states have laws governing commercial co-ventures”; “currently 27 states define ‘commercial co-venturer’ in their solicitation laws”; “about 20 states” have commercial co-venture laws.  You get the point.  This can be a tricky area of the law.  For the record, 23 states have specific statutes pertaining to commercial co-ventures/venturers and additionally, the Illinois “charitable trust” statutes would apply to commercial co-venturers.

Many of these commercial co-venture statutes are uniform in their definitions and applicability.  However, there are always grey areas where the practical doesn’t always fit with the statutory.  I’d like to review a few of these areas with questions frequently posed:

If we only ask consumers to “like” our Facebook page to trigger a donation to charity is that a commercial co-venture?

Perhaps in some states.  The vast majority of state statutes expressly require a purchase to trigger a donation.  But a few states (AL, MA and MS) have statutes drafted which could encompass non-purchase solicitations.  By their terms, these states’ laws would apply whenever a company “conducts, promotes, underwrites, or sponsors a sale, performance or event of any kind which is advertised and which will benefit to any extent a charity.”  See AL Code § 13A-9-70(A); Mass. L. ch. 68, § 18; Miss. Admin. Code 1-15-1.01. (more…)

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Cause Marketing Lessons from the Wounded Warrior Project Scandal

Your company just made a major announcement that it is partnering with a charity that you now find is involved in a scandal. What can you do?

The recent ousting of The Wounded Warriors Project CEO and COO amid allegations of lavish spending on travel, conferences and public relations requires a company to examine their cause marketing campaigns. While there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water – recent studies still confirm that consumers, and in particular Millennials, strongly support buying from companies associated with a cause* — picking the right charity is critical.

*For example, according to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “More than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average).” (more…)

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