Nonprofit Leaders Praise Supreme Court Donor Privacy Decision

For Immediate Release:
July 1, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382


Consistent with a jointly submitted amicus brief from PETA, The Nonprofit Alliance, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision today invalidating a California rule that required charities to disclose their major donors, ruling that it violated the First Amendment right to freedom of association.

“Today’s decision confirms that Americans have a constitutional right to support the charities whose work matters to them, without fear of persecution,” says PETA Foundation Senior Vice President and General Counsel Jeff Kerr. “From shutting down circuses to defeating the fur industry, all PETA’s animal rights victories were made possible by generous donors whose rights matter, too.”

“We are pleased the court recognized the importance of confidentiality in donors’ choices to support a broad spectrum of causes, both the socially charged and the entirely uncontroversial. The confidence and trust donors place in a nonprofit organization are essential to the continued vibrancy of the philanthropic sector,” says The Nonprofit Alliance’s general counsel, Robert Tigner. “We support states’ efforts to protect donors from fraudulent ‘charities’ with the robust investigative means already at their disposal. But the overreach addressed in this case could have created as much risk for donors, if not more.”

“AFP supports this decision because we believe that donor privacy is a fundamental aspect of fundraising and Americans’ continued generosity and philanthropy, but we also believe that government needs to be able to regulate charities and fundraising to some degree,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, and president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “This case does not undercut the ability of states to oversee charities—the information involved in this case can still be obtained by states through other means if necessary. We felt the regulation went too far and could have overly burdened charities in their fundraising, and we believe charities and donors will benefit from this decision.”

Karen Donnelly of the law firm Copilevitz, Lam & Raney P.C. coordinated and filed the amicus brief on behalf of The Nonprofit Alliance, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, PETA, and the 123 other organizations that signed onto it.

Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals has been the standard-bearer for professionalism in fundraising. Its 26,000 members raise over $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations around the globe through ethical and effective fundraising practices based on its Code of Ethical Standards. For more information, go to

The Nonprofit Alliance exists to foster the development and growth of nonprofit organizations and to protect the vital services that they provide as well as the donors, members, partners, and volunteers who support them. Members represent a diverse landscape of causes and include industry experts who help nonprofits in their public outreach, fundraising, and resource development. For more information, visit

PETA—whose motto reads, “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA, please visit or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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