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Opinion/About change – Donors need a break

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By Todd Cohen

Charities can help dam the flood of phone solicitation.

A federal judge has blocked a federal plan that was set to begin Oct. 1 and would have let consumers sign a “no-call” list to keep solicitors from phoning.

The judge held up the plan because it applies only to callers for businesses, not for charitable, religious, political or polling groups.

The distinction is not fair because the U.S. Constitution gives all callers the right of free speech.

Americans also have a right to privacy, which is disturbed by any call, whoever makes it.

The no-call rule should apply to all solicitors, and individuals should be able to choose which type of solicitor can and cannot call them.

While charities enjoy special privileges because of their charitable purpose, phoning Americans for money is not one of them.

Charities’ credibility, already hurting because of scandals and excess, sinks deeper when they hire for-profit solicitation firms that keep most of the money they raise, a practice that other charities and state regulators fail to criticize.

Charities can help restore donors’ respect, and regulators can help ensure fairness and privacy, by letting individuals decide whether they want to get solicitation calls.

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