Underwriting Compliance Guide: 5. Third-Party Fundraising

5.      Third-Party Fundraising

Noncommercial stations can interrupt programming in order to raise money for the station or its licensee nonprofit organization.  This is common on NPR and PBS stations as “pledge breaks” or telethons/radiothons.  Donations received must directly benefit the station.  

Noncommercial stations can also interrupt programming in order to raise money for other organizations with specific restrictions and reporting requirements.   This is called Third-Party Fundraising (TPF).  This also includes fundraising for organizations in the wake of a major disaster.

Noncommercial stations (both LPFM and full-power) are limited to one percent of their annual airtime to be devoted to third-party fundraising.  Organizations that will receive the funds raised must be disclosed.  All TPF activity must be logged in the station’s records and retained for at least 2 years. Beneficiary organizations must hold a federal IRS 501(c)(3) status.  Third-party fundraising can’t benefit non-profits that are only recognized by the state and are not listed as an IRS 501(c)(3) nor can it benefit fraternal organizations, labor unions, political action committees or political campaigns as those organizations are not IRS 501(c)(3)

DISCLAIMER: THIS MANUAL WAS NOT WRITTEN BY AN ATTORNEY AND THEREFORE SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE.  REC NETWORKS IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES THAT MAY ARISE FROM THE USE OF THIS MANUAL.  THIS GUIDE IS BASED ON 20 YEARS OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE NON-COMMERCIAL (INCLUDING LPFM) BROADCAST SERVICE.