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Commonly Asked Questions about the Registration of Charitable Fundraising

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The focus has always remained on charitable organizations when it comes to nonprofit corporations. There are unique and recurring questions people have to ask about charities. Charities cannot create and manage fundraising campaigns without complying with state requirements. We have covered the top 8 charity registration questions likely to be surfaced in your mind.

  1. When Is Charitable Solicitation Registration Necessary?

In the majority of the states, barring a charitable organization applying for an exemption, most of the charitable organizations must register solicitation with the state before collecting donation from the residents within that state. Any charitable organization focusing on individuals, foundations or corporations within the state in which it wants to raise funds, it has to be registered. Charitable solicitation registration greatly depends on the state in which the charitable organization wants to operate. California is the state allowing a 30-day grace period after the organization receives a charitable asset from donors in a state.

  1. Where Can A Charitable Organization Get Registered?

Charity registration is essential in most of the states when a charitable organization is aiming to raise funds. The method of solicitation and location of charity do not matter. Solicitation registration is not required in the following states:

Arizona

Indiana

South Dakota

Delaware

Texas

Idaho

Iowa

Vermont

Wyoming

Nebraska

Montana

However, veteran’s organizations have to register in Arizona. And, in the state of Louisiana, if a charitable organization is counting on professional fundraisers in the state then the registration is required. In the state of Missouri, 501c3 organizations are exempted. Registration by law enforcement, public safety and veteran’s organizations is required in the state of Texas. The process of registration is accomplished through consumer protection office or licensing.

In most of the states, the Office of the Attorney General or the Secretary of State’s Office handles compliance requirements. Even if your charitable organization is registered in one state or if you need not register your charitable in one state, it does not mean that you can raise funds in some other state without registration. If another state requires, your organization have to register to raise funds in that state.

  1. Who Is Required To Register?

Religious organizations need not register or file IRS Form 990. However, most of the remaining charitable organizations must register in order to solicit funds in multiple states. And, the charitable organizations should get registered in these states. There are many states in which organizations raising less than $25000 annually get exemptions. These organizations include hospitals, educational institutions, political or membership organizations. However, it is important to understand that there are exceptions to the exemptions. In many states, a charitable organization has to apply or request for exemption. And, if the exemption is not given then you will have to register for fundraising to receive donations in multiple states even when you are collecting contribution online.

  1. How To Find Out Whether A Charitable Organization Qualifies For Solicitation In A Given State Or Not?

In North Dakota and Washington D.C., a charitable organization has to be qualified as an entity that can get registered for soliciting charitable donations. However, this is not same in all states. There are different requirements in different states. California, Colorado, and Oregon are the states in which a charitable organization requires registration as a corporation in order to conduct business.

  1. Is It Mandatory For Charitable Organization To Have A Registered Agent To Get Registered In Every State?

In the majority of the states, a charitable organization needs not to have a registered agent. There are some states in which the charity does require a registered agent. However, it should not be confused with statutory requirements for a registered agent for a business entity.

  1. Can A Charity Add A ‘Donate Now’ Button On Its Official Website Without Getting Registered?

There are 41 states in which a charitable organization need to have some form of registration to meet requirements for solicitation of funds. And, there are different definitions of solicitation in different states. If the ‘Donate Now’ button is included the state’s definition of solicitation and ‘Donate Now’ button is regarded as solicitation then the charitable organization should seek proper legal advice.

  1. Can A Charitable Organization Hire Professional Fundraisers And Are There Any Consequences Of Doing So?

It is important to figure out whether a state allows hiring professional fundraisers or not. There are states in which exemptions are awarded and it depends on circumstances. These circumstances include monetary thresholds, fraternal and social organizations, membership and hospitals and hospitals auxiliaries. However, in some states, under some circumstances, engaging professional fundraisers can lead to loss of exemptions. If a state allows hiring professional fundraisers the charitable organization will have to amend its registration and also to produce a copy of the fundraising contract.

  1. What Are The Ongoing Filing Requirements?

Apart from one-time or annual registration, in some states, there are additional filings in the form of renewal, annual report and update. There are several other forms of compliance filing that will keep the charity in good standing. Form 990, audited financial statement and state-specific financial report (if the charity is operating in multiple states) are the documents a charitable organization has to produce at the time of annual charitable solicitation compliance filings.

Unfortunately, some states have kept audit threshold very low. The threshold in Illinois is $300,000 in gross constitutions. However, the threshold is reduced to $25000 if the charity has hired a professional fundraiser.

No two states have the same rules and regulations. Therefore, the team running a nonprofit charitable organization should be aware of the compliance requirements of a state to collect donations in that state. It becomes difficult and complicated when a charitable organization wants to raise funds in several states. That’s why it is always better to hire a registered agent to get a charitable organization registered in different states. These agents are aware of the laws and regulations of different states. Professional assistance of these registered agents helps in complying with all requirements of different states.

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