State Reaches Settlement with PayPal Charitable Giving Fund, Inc. to Ensure Donors Have Adequate Information When Making Charitable Donations
MADISON, Wis. - Attorney General Josh Kaul, together with 22 state law enforcement partners, has reached an agreement with PayPal Charitable Giving Fund, Inc. to to ensure donors receive adequate information and disclosures when making charitable contributions through the company’s online fundraising platform.
“Wisconsinites should be able to trust in organizations that facilitate charitable donations,” said Attorney General Kaul. “This agreement will help ensure that people who make charitable contributions through the PayPal Charitable Giving Fund receive the information they should be receiving.”
PayPal Charitable Giving Fund, Inc. (PPGF) is the charitable arm of PayPal, Inc. PPGF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that allows donors to contribute funds electronically to PPGF and select a charity that will ultimately receive the benefit of their contribution. Donors’ contributions are aggregated and distributed to the donors’ chosen charities. PPGF does not collect fees from donors or charities for this service; however, a charity receives contributions more quickly if the charity maintains a PayPal account, a fact that had not been adequately disclosed to donors. In some instances, PPGF redirected donors’ contributions from the charity selected by the donor to other organizations with similar purposes without informing donors.
Charities regulators nationwide joined the effort to investigate PPGF’s fundraising activities, including its disclosures, vetting practices, and treatment of charitable contributions. To address the states’ concerns, PPGF adopted reforms to its disclosures to ensure that donors know:
- that they are contributing to PPGF
- the timeframe in which a selected charity may receive funds from PPGF
- the implication of being an enrolled rather than an unenrolled charity on the PPGF platform.
PPGF also agreed to notify donors when it redirects a donor’s charitable contribution to an organization other than the one selected by the donor. PPGF will provide regulators with future campaign data to ensure the organization is complying with its obligations under the agreement.
Finally, PPGF agreed to make a payment of $200,000 to the National Association of Attorneys General for deposit into the NAAG Charities Enforcement and Training Fund. This fund has been established to defray costs associated with the investigation and litigation of cases brought by state charities regulators, and to provide training and education to those regulators.
As a result of this settlement, online donors will continue to have the information they need to make informed decisions about their charitable contributions.
The states included in the agreement are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina Secretary of State, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania Texas, and Wisconsin.
Because this settlement resulted in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance and no civil action will be filed, requirements of 2017 Wisconsin Act 369 do not apply.