Charitable Solicitation Requirements

Many states have laws regulating the solicitation of funds for charitable purposes. These statutes generally require organizations to register with a state agency before soliciting the state’s residents for contributions, providing exemptions from registration for certain categories of organizations. In addition, organizations may be required to file periodic financial reports. State laws may impose additional requirements on fundraising activity involving paid solicitors and fundraising counsel. An IRS training document describes these requirements in greater detail. Charitable organizations may wish to contact the appropriate state agency to learn more about the requirements that may apply in their state, before soliciting contributions. In some states, municipal or other local governments may also require organizations soliciting charitable contributions to register and report.

In addition to registration and reporting requirements associated with the solicitation of charitable contributions, some states require organizations to register and file periodic financial results if they hold assets subject to a charitable trust.

State Regulation of Charitable Solicitation and Registration Requirements to Hold Charitable Assets

To determine in what state(s) you may be required to register to solicit charitable contributions or hold assets subject to a charitable trust, see the website of the National Association of State Charities Officials.

If you nonprofit operates in more than one state you might want to consider filing a unified registration statement:

What is the Unified Registration Statement?

The Unified Registration Statement (URS) represents an effort to consolidate the information and data requirements of all states that require registration of nonprofit organizations performing charitable solicitations within their jurisdictions. The effort is organized by the National Association of State Charities Officials and the National Association of Attorneys General, and is one part of the Standardized Reporting Project, whose aim is to standardize, simplify, and economize compliance under the states’ solicitation laws.

How Do I Use the URS?

The URS is an alternative to filing all of the respective registration forms produced by each of the cooperating states. In those states, a registering nonprofit may use either the state form or the URS. Thus, the URS proves most useful to nonprofits soliciting regionally or nationally and, therefore, subject to the registration laws of multiple states. But the URS may be used by any nonprofit that is registering in a state accepting it.

Conceptually, the process is simple. You fill out the URS by following its accompanying instructions; photocopy the completed URS (with state-specific items, including signature lines, left blank); fill in any state-specific items; execute (i.e., sign with or without notary) according to each state’s requirements; collect and attach the specified governance (for initial filings) and other documents; write a check for the prescribed registration fee (if any); and mail the package, covered by the URS, to the respective state’s administering agency. For more details go to Multi-State Filer Project at:
http://www.multistatefiling.org/index.html

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice,or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.