Advancing the nonprofit marketing & charitable fundraising community since 1982

Ethics & Policy Resources for Nonprofits

Information to help your organization comply with DMA member guidelines

2 Key Issues Threatening Data-Driven Marketing and Fundraising

California Consumer Privacy Law

The California referendum initiative severely restricting data in California leading to massive penalties for data providers was removed in favor of a sweeping new law that passed in less than seven days. In effect as of January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Law adds significant compliance requirements for the processing of personal data by data providers. While the law does not include nonprofit organizations outright, the new law will create compliance hurdles and legal risks resulting in the depletion of vitally important data for Californians. Access to data is critical to nonprofits fundraising and conducting mission work in The Golden State. Data providers help nonprofits retain donors and grow their files reaching more potential donors. Severely reducing data sources, the new law must be improved from its current state.

Here are the basics:

  • Who it effects — commercial companies that “deal in personal data”
  • Who it protects — California residents

Key provisions

  • New protected personal information — virtually all data, even inferred data — “any information that…relates to…a particular consumer or household”
  • Notice required: “Do not sell my personal information”
  • Right to be informed about data collection and why
  • Right to delete personal information (“PI”)
  • Right to opt-out of sharing
  • Right to source of information, i.e. a nonprofit source
  • Right to transfer PI to others
  • Enforced by the California Attorney General — more regulation to come
  • Allows for a costly private right of action for a data breach — PI impacted by a breach narrowed in scope
  • Companies may offer incentives for data use, but companies may not discriminate in offerings based upon choices by the individual

The DMA division of ANA is part of a large coalition of data providers and businesses strategizing and seeking amendments. Members will continue to be kept apprised of developments.

If you are a data provider and would like to participate in this vitally important coalition, please contact Chris Oswald via email at View the new law here.

Be in touch with your legal counsel as compliance is in effect now ahead of the 2020 implementation date. Examine all your data collection policies with regard to California, i.e. data map and inventory California households and individuals, explore creation of a restricted California-only website, review and update your privacy policy for California, and add a Do Not Sell notice to your website and opt-out link as a start.

United States Postal Service proposal — act now to save our premiums

The United States Postal Service, a vitally important partner to nonprofits and other mailers to deliver appeals, products, services and more, issued a very concerning content standards proposal that would require items that are not printed materials to be mailed at much higher rates. This proposed change would limit all USPS marketing mail regular and nonprofit, letter and flat-size, to content that is only paper-based/printed matter; no merchandise or goods will be allowed of any type regardless of value. If the proposal is adopted in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), it will impact your ability to mail coins, plastic cards and other items that you include as premiums. The deadline to submit comments is October 22, 2018.

To submit comments, please mail or deliver written comments to:
Manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4446
Washington, DC 20260-5015

You may also email comments and questions to:
Subject Line: USPS Marketing Mail Content Eligibility

Here is a sample letter (Word .docx download) for you to adapt as needed.

It is important you activate on these two issues. Californians, who exceed 12% of the US population, are likely a greater percentage of your fundraising receipts and direct mail is already one of your largest marketing expenditures.

Please watch for further updates and thank you in advance for taking action on behalf of the charitable fundraising community. If you have questions or comments, please email Senny Boone at

12 Tips for GDPR Compliance

January 2018 — The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in effect for organizations active in the EU as of May 25, 2018 and replaces the European Data Protection Directive in all EU member states. The GDPR does not exempt nonprofit organizations, which collect a great deal of personal information and must comply with the GDPR. The fines are very steep: 4% of annual turnover or 20 million euros, whichever higher. Please note that this update does not replace legal advice — please review the GDPR and its impact with your own legal counsel. If you have questions or require assistance, contact DMANF’s Senny Boone. The key points in this document were developed in conjunction with the Email Experience Council.

Comprehensive Tax Reform and the charitable deduction
January 12, 2018

With the passage of the Comprehensive Tax Reform bill, we fear less individual contributions to charity. The charitable deduction remains, but not for everyone. Since the standard deduction is doubled for individuals ($12,000) and for married couples ($24,000), it translates to fewer itemizers and as such those who may claim the charitable deduction. According to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, charitable giving may decline by as much as $15 billion per year. The DMANF and many other organizations sought an amendment for a universal charitable tax deduction — even for itemizers. We are grateful to the organizations who sent letters in support of the amendment. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford’s universal charitable deduction amendment did not make it into the final version of the bill due to its high cost of over $220 billion. It remains to be seen when and if another legislative vehicle will be offered so that a change can be made. For now, charities must track impact on year-over-year giving. The number of individuals who itemize will be impacted by the changes to the SALT deductions at the local level and the mortgage interest deduction cap. The Unrelated Business Income Tax on royalty income for the use of an organization’s name and logo was removed from the final version of the bill. The final version of the bill also preserves historic tax credits. DMANF continues its work to secure a universal charitable tax deduction.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Senny Boone.

Postal Coalition Op-Ed to The Hill, August 7, 2017: Looming Risks Threaten an Essential Channel for Businesses and Nonprofits

DMANF’s Crisis Response Toolkit

DMANF in the News

DMANF’s Top 10 Nonprofit Good Giving Tips

Accounting for Costs of Activities that Include Fundraising

December 15, 2015
DMANF Signs On to Comments in Opposition to the Proposed Gift Substantiation Regulation

September 23, 2015
DMA-Led Coalition Wins on Clarification of California Nonprofit Fundraising Law; Group Applauds California Governor’s Signature of Assembly Bill 556; also covered in The Nonprofit Times

How to Comply with The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Statement of Position SOP 98-2

Accountability-Dashboard logo

DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard

This tool provides snapshot transparency of relevant metrics to donors who otherwise look to third party reporting sites. While most of the information on the Nonprofit Dashboard is already available on an organization’s website within annual reports, etc., many donors and other constituents prefer quick views over poring through multi-page online publications. DMANF Nonprofit members are strongly encouraged to take the industry lead in adopting the Nonprofit Dashboard into its annual public reporting.

As part of this initiative, DMANF evaluated opportunities to include qualitative — as well as quantitative — reporting within the Dashboard to share, in a very public-friendly way, organizational priorities, progress against short- and long- term goals, and obstacles to success. Charting Impact, an initiative led by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar USA, and Independent Sector, does exactly this. Many organizations are already using Charting Impact as part of GuideStar Exchange. DMANF therefore is coordinating with GuideStar to promote Charting Impact and to explore future opportunities for shared efforts in this area.

Kudos to Dashboard Adopters!

Currently, these organizations are using the Dashboard. Email Alicia Osgood if your organization is participating:

Instructions to DMANF nonprofit members

  1. Complete the DMA Nonprofit Dashboard with 3 years of quantified performance across 8 metrics. Numbers reported in the Nonprofit Dashboard should be consistent with audited financial statements and other published service reports, as applicable.
  2. Post the Nonprofit Dashboard on your website.
    • Post the dashboard with your annual report, audited financials, etc. That’s where donors will naturally navigate to find this type of information. This should be no more than two clicks from your home page.
    • Include a link on other pages highly trafficked by donors, e.g., a donors services FAQ page.
    • Use the term “Nonprofit Dashboard” when referring to or linking to this graph. Together we will build name recognition over time.
    • Educate your donor services staff to direct donors to this new resource.
  3. Complete a Charting Impact report via Guidestar. Charting Impact helps your organization tell your story in an accessible, concise way by answering five simple yet powerful questions. DMANF is encouraging members to use this functionality within Guidestar and link to it from your Dashboard.
  4. Ongoing: Update most recent year numbers annually, when your new annual report and audited financials are made available to constituents.

Thank you for your leadership in adopting the Nonprofit Dashboard reporting tool as part of your organization’s due diligence in providing complete, relevant, and easy to use information to the public. Your feedback is very important. We welcome suggestions to ensure the Nonprofit Dashboard a useful tool for your organization and your supporters.

Questions? Email Alicia Osgood.

  • Sample DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard
  • Template for DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard

Ethical Guidelines

DMA Consumer Choice Services

The DMA asks that all members abide by consumer choices for their marketing offers, regardless of the marketing channels used. The DMA provides several suppression file services to its subscribers to process as they prepare marketing and fundraising campaigns.

Nonprofit members should email Alicia Osgood as there is special consideration on pricing from DMA’s third-party provider (Interactive Marketing Solutions) for nonprofits not already benefiting from these services via their agencies/suppliers. See DMA Consumer Choice Suppression Services.

The Nonprofit Federation intends and believes that its guidelines for ethical behavior are the strictest and most comprehensive in both the direct marketing and charitable communities. As an operating division of the Direct Marketing Association, the Nonprofit Federation requires its members to adhere to the same ethical guidelines as other DMA members, as delineated in the Commitment to Consumer Choice, which all DMA members are required to sign, and the Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice (a specially annotated version for DMANF members) and the Donor’s Bill of Rights, as adopted by the Nonprofit Federation and other major organizations representing the nonprofit sector. Members and staff monitor the actions of the membership and of others in the nonprofit community, and take appropriate action in cases of suspected ethical violations.

The Donor Bill of Rights

Complaints to the DMA Committee on Ethical Business Practice are handled confidentially. If possible, complaints are resolved by modifying the offending documents or procedures, which the Committee reviews before closing the case. If a known violation continues, the Committee will publicize its findings, including the name of the violator and the facts of the case. Where a law may have been violated, it forwards the case to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and publicizes the referral.

Policy Alerts & Information

POSTAL CENTER: Like us on Facebook (DMA Nonprofit Federation), follow us on Twitter (@DMANF) and read our bi-weekly News Update (Thursdays) to stay continuously informed.

CHARITABLE DEDUCTION: We continue to monitor all tax reform proposals and will keep you apprised as developments occur.

Questions or comments? Contact Xenia “Senny” Boone, Esquire.

Charity Watchdogs

Executive summaries of DMANF-commissioned studies take the bite out of Watchdogs.

DMANF Grassroots Network

Make a difference!

Contact your Congressman or Senator about the issues that affect you and your organization. And make sure your voice is heard by enrolling in the DMANF Grassroots Network!

More resources & tools

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