What You Need to Know About Charitable Telemarketing & Cell Phones



If you run a PFR (professional fundraiser), a political action committee (PAC), or a charity of any kind, you know that remaining in compliance with the evolving regulations concerning telemarketing and telefundraising can be both confusing to track and difficult to execute. However, you also know how important it is to follow these laws. It’s vital to stay informed regarding updates in these regulations in order to ensure that your business or organization is following all necessary guidelines.

Cell Phone Telemarketing Laws

Charities are exempt from many of the laws that govern telemarketing in the United States. However, some of these laws do apply to both businesses and charitable organizations. This includes the laws regarding cell phone telemarketing.


Why is cell phone telemarketing more strictly regulated than landline telemarketing? According to 2018 data, about 95% of American adults now own a cell phone device of some kind. As many as 77% of adults own a smartphone. This is a steep climb from 2011, which was the first year in which the Pew Research Center surveyed Americans regarding cell phone ownership. In that year, just 35% of American adults owned a mobile phone. The federal government has had to update the laws related to cell phone telemarketing rapidly in order to keep up with this sudden shift in communications trends.


The Pew Research Center has also found that this data holds true almost indiscriminately; Americans across all demographics own and use cell phones. Because most Americans carry their cell phones with them, the government perceives calls to these devices as being much more disruptive, immediate, and personal than calls to landlines. Because of that, telemarketing, debt collection, and other calls to cell phone devices are more strictly regulated.


Is It Illegal for Telemarketers to Call Cell Phones?

Contrary to a semi-prevalent myth, it is NOT illegal for telemarketers to dial cell phones. It is, however, illegal for telemarketers to use automatic telephone dialing system (or ATDS) when calling cell phones, unless the telemarketer has received prior express written consent.


The Legal Definition of an Autodialer

There are both state laws and federal laws that govern telesales. Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulate telemarketing. As mentioned above, in October 2013, with the passage of the New FCC Autodialer Laws, it became illegal to use any sort of automatic telephone dialing system to call cell phones for marketing calls without prior express written consent.


It’s important to emphasize that these laws are changing and updating all the time. As recently as 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Marks v. Crunch that any device capable of storing telephone numbers is to be considered an ATDS; further clarifying (and expanding) the legal definition of an autodialer.


Solutions for Your Telefundraising Campaign

Avatar & Echo Telemarketing seeks to provide solutions for our clients in this space that allow them to stay both effective and in 100% regulatory compliance.


We provide compliant dialer solutions for each set of government regulations. If you are calling landlines, you can use our Avatar-powered agents who utilize our Avatar soundboard to generate donors and donations. If you are dialing cellphones, we have a manual, click to call solution that uses our live agents who are coached by our Echo software. You can run a landline and cellphone campaign team for the same campaign simultaneously.


Use this chart to find out which program is right for your campaign.





At Avatar & Echo Telemarketing, we use the most advanced and innovative technology for our outsourced telemarketing services. Imagine having a team of non-accented agents working for you, starting at just $3.50 per agent per hour. Plus, we handle all aspects of your campaign. From creation to verification to sending out data files—we’re your total source for effective and compliant telefundraising solutions.


Call Avatar & Echo Telemarketing at (866) 664-1733 today to learn more, or complete our online form. A sales agent from our telefundraising services team will get back to you!

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