When embarking on your first foray into commercial co-venture land, you may have learned that a commercial co-venturer has to register in six states. But how much do you know about what that entails? Here’s a primer: (more…)
Posts Tagged: Commercial Co-Ventures
Yay! Big brand wants to team up and donate part of the purchase price of its sales to your charity. Do you just have to sit back and watch the money come pouring in?
Procedurally, no; substantively, (mostly) yes. Even though the “work” in a commercial co-venture may be done primarily by the commercial company in terms of registrations and actual product selling, a charity has a number of its own obligations that cannot be ignored.
A short primer: Buy this + we donate that = commercial co-venture. Simple. (more…)
George Carlin had seven dirty words. Spongebob Squarepants had 13 bad words (7 regular/6 sailor). And New York State has 6,942 dirty words that can’t be used on vanity plates. But commercial co-venturers should be aware of three dirty words: Professional Fundraiser, Professional Solicitor, and Fundraising Counsel, because if your cause marketing campaign drifts into these areas, you may want to scream another dirty word.
These categories are treated differently from commercial co-venturers under charitable solicitation laws because these people get paid for their fundraising activities and therefore, the state regulators are more cautious and have imposed much more stringent registration, bonding and reporting requirements. (more…)
There are not many court decisions concerning commercial co-ventures. In fact, there are perhaps five. This is far less than the number of decisions involving unicorns (seriously). Nevertheless, these few court decisions provide some guidance on how a court may look at claims involving alleged violation of commercial co-venture laws. Let’s take a look:
Attorney General v. Bach, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 1126 (2012): Company sold tickets to a “show house” with proceeds to go to charity. No contract with charity. No registration (note: MA). Show not a big hit. Company went under. Unknown if donation actually made. Two years later, MA attorney general brought action against the owner personally. Court found owner violated CCV laws. Permanent injunction issued precluding owner from failing to comply with the act. (more…)
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…)
I’ll admit that I’ve been part of the people lining up in the wee hours of the morning waiting for the doors to open on Black Friday. I even (temporarily) lost my young son once even though I specifically instructed him to run toward the tv’s. Luckily, my wife chose to chase him as he ran to the video games, and it ended up a win-win when I got myself a huge flat screen at a great price. But I digress.
As you may or may not know, in 2012, to compete with the commercialism of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the NY 92nd Street Y teamed up with the United Nations Foundation to create #Giving Tuesday.
During the first year more than $10 million in online donations were processed and by 2015 this number increased to approximately $116 million. These numbers are pretty impressive given that according to a 2015 survey, only 18% of consumers were familiar with Giving Tuesday. While this new holiday has been specifically geared toward the charity’s online solicitation efforts, it appears to be an ideal vehicle for corporate giving through cause marketing campaigns. The statistics bear this out: (more…)