A number of states require disclosure notice statements on all written materials used when soliciting contributions. Most often the disclosure notice is required to be included on every printed solicitation or written confirmation, receipt, and reminder of a contribution. Customary examples of printed solicitations are those in the form of direct mail solicitations, fliers or those contained in a newsletter. Less apparent, however, is the website as a form of written solicitation: any request for a donation appearing on a website is considered a form of written solicitation. This is more of an issue when an external mechanism such as an advertisement, email, text message, or even a link from a social media page, directs potential donors to the site where they can donate directly.
The same disclosures that must be included in direct mail (and other forms of physical solicitations) also must be included on websites (and other forms of digital solicitations, such as emails, texts and social media). Although it might seem onerous to provide disclosures on a website, it can be used as an opportunity to direct potential donors to the site. For example, information on a social media page can offer the solicitation, embedded on the website, through the means of a link. Once on the website, donors have access to more information about the organization.
Note that this hyperlink option does not change the requirement for the full disclosure to be included with physical solicitations—it is only an option in digital ones.
Many states have verbatim requirements for specific language to be included in the written disclosure statements. Soliciting organizations should regularly review all their written solicitation materials, including their websites, to consider whether they comply with the state disclosure requirements. More information about states that require solicitation disclosures and sample disclosure statements for nationally-registered organizations are available on our website.