ASCI’s new charity norms ask crowdsourcing platforms to disclose fees

Mumbai, July 20: Crowdsourcing platforms will have to disclose fees charged by them while seeking donations for charitable causes henceforth, advertising industry’s self regulatory body ASCI said on Thursday.
In the guidelines for advertisements for charitable causes, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has also made it clear that graphic images of victims in distress, particularly children and minors, should not be used by advertisers.
“If a crowdsourcing platform collects a percentage or fee for managing or raising donor funds, it must be made clear what such amounts are in the advertisement itself,” the guidelines say.
It can be noted that there are crowdsourcing platforms like Ketto which directly deduct 5 per cent of the donations made for charitable causes by people.
The body said in recent years, charities have been active advertisers, especially on digital media, for seeking funds and crowdfunding. The non-profits reach out to potential donors either through organic posts or sponsored ads, it added.
“ASCI recognises that charities can have a challenging job explaining the nature of the important, and often sensitive work they do, and raise funds for beneficiaries in need.
“However, they must take care not to overstep the mark by misleading consumers or causing unjustified distress to those who may be merely surfing online,” its chief executive and secretary general Manisha Kapoor said.
The guidelines also make it clear that an advertisement shall not overtly or pointedly suggest that anyone who does not support the charity fails in their responsibility or should feel ashamed.
In digital advertising, any image shown in the ad that could cause unjustified distress to an ordinary consumer, must be blurred and made visible only to those interested in clicking and knowing more, the guidelines say.
Advertisers must also disclose if there are any chances of the funds collected being used for any other purposes if an appeal for donation is being made for a specific purpose, the body said, adding that ads must not mislead consumers. (PTI)