One of my personal friends works in the non-profit space. He has a blog post put up about the rules that are required in order to pass the CAN SPAM Act. In doing some research, he found that people would say “Oh, yes, we know the rules about emailing and marketing” but when pressed… not so much. In other words, people may know that spamming is illegal but they don’t really know the requirements from the law. I’m reposting his article here:
Many fundraisers are fuzzy on the rules of email solicitations. Nonprofits seem to receive a little grace with people regarding how we use and reuse our email lists. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know the rules. By following the rules, you can make sure that your email blasts do not start to become SPAM and that you can build trust and accountability with your donors.
The law governing mass emailing is often referred to as CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. This act regulates legal use of unsolicited email. Although this law was written for businesses, it does apply to nonprofit organizations. The Federal Trade Commission does not have jurisdiction over individual nonprofits, but the state attorney general and individual Internet Service Providers (ISP) can enforce the law. Fines can be levied that are as high as $16,000 per individual illegal email sent. Local ISP’s have a vested interest in enforcing this law as they can be liable if their clients break them. Here are a few key points:
For more information on the law check out these articles:
For a couple of more articles, refer to Al Iverson of SpamResource who recently wrote a series on the CAN SPAM Act:
Terry thanks for the shout out. Glad that I could inspire some thinking and we could cross paths in the blogosphere. I'm going to tweet about your post now.