Whether to advertise that proceeds go to charity
February 26, 2010 7:56 AM   Subscribe

I want to create something (the details probably aren't really relevant to my question) as a side project that I will sell, using all of the proceeds for charity. Is this something that I can/should advertise, assuming I have not set this up officially with the charity, but am just passing the profits along myself?

I was initially thinking of writing "All proceeds will be donated to [charity name]," but I think I'm leaning towards this being a bad idea, since even though I know I'll do it, it's essentially dependent on me following through.

I guess also as a follow-up, if this is a bad idea, would it be best for me to just not say anything about it in the advertising, or is there a fairly easy way to set this sort of thing up with a given charity so that it's sanctioned by them?

It's not a large enough project, at least at this point, to jump through a lot of hoops like registering as a non-profit, or whatever; if that's the best solution, then I'll just stick with not advertising it and just passing the profits along as personal donations.

Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions.
posted by greenmagnet to Grab Bag (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Don't advertise with the charity's name without their blessing. I'm not sure what your legal liability would be, but charities base a lot of their fundraising and programming work on their reputation and generally don't want anyone throwing their name around in ways that make it look like they are endorsing a product if they haven't explicitly agreed to do so.

The easy answer is to call the charity and ask what they think. How complicated this is depends on the size of the organization - the bigger the charity, the more hoops there will be to jump through. But simply explaining the situation and asking whether they would like their name on it, and how complicated it would be to do so is the fastest (and most ethical) way to your answer.

I'm ED at a charity, and if the product itself was reliable or of reasonable quality, related to our work, and/or compatible with our mission and goals, I'd probably say ok as long as you had convinced me that you were a reputable businessman and weren't just going to run off with either the proceeds or your customers' money. Otherwise I would say no. And if I discovered that you had promoted your product by writing "All proceeds will be donated to [charity name] without our permission, I would be pissed off and possibly even talking to a lawyer.

Alternatively, consider a more generic "all proceeds will be donated to charity" or even "a [insert type of charity here] charity"
posted by scrute at 9:07 PM on February 26, 2010

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