SCOTUS Decision Protects Donor Privacy

SCOTUS Decision Protects Donor Privacy

Chapter Leadership Brief 7.2.2021

By Steve Jacobson, AFP-NYC President 
CEO, JCA, Inc.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in a 6-3 decision that California cannot legally compel nonprofit organizations to provide donor information to the state.  The case stems from a challenge by two conservative nonprofit groups based in California, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Thomas More Law Center. These organizations claimed that California’s donor disclosure laws negatively impacted nonprofit groups’ abilities to fundraise and needlessly subjected donors to possible harassment.

As you may recall, back in February, the AFP-NYC Chapter signed onto an amicus brief prepared by our friends at the Nonprofit Alliance in support of these nonprofit groups. We concur with the Court that California’s efforts to obtain donors' private information were an overreach and violated first amendment rights. So, you may be asking, what is the impact on nonprofits in New York? Well, a lot actually. Similar donor disclosure requirements were promoted by Governor Cuomo and surreptitiously tucked into the New York 2020-21 state budget legislation last spring. It would now appear that those requirements are unconstitutional and can no longer be enforced.

The AFP-NYC Chapter is proud to have played a very small role in protecting donor privacy. We are also proud of our larger role in serving the best interests of our community’s fundraising professionals and the organizations for whom they serve. Our chapter provides superb educational content through our professional advancement programs. We offer the most comprehensive mentoring programs on the planet. We promote the importance of fundraisers and the value that our sector creates. If you’re already involved, thank you! If you’re not, what are you waiting for? Come join us!

Speaking of which, I hope that you can join us for our next virtual professional advancement event on July 21st: “Planning for a Comeback: Creating strategies and flexible development plans post-COVID.”  Please register here. See you there!

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