Seven years ago the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact and the 92nd Street Y sensed that there should be more to kick off the holiday season than turkey leftovers and Black Friday bargains, and #GivingTuesday was born. Today, the global giving movement has spread to more than 150 countries, bringing in more than $300 million in 2017.
Clearly people are eager to mark the end of the year by sharing gifts, not just buying them, which means they’re looking to connect with nonprofits like yours. As you prepare to step into year-end fundraising with Giving Tuesday and beyond, make sure you’ve set your nonprofit up for success by protecting your good standing and compliance.
Donors want to make sure their donations go to legitimate charities, and they’re researching nonprofits before donating. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission encourages visitors on the Web to “find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state” before making a donation. Forty-one states require registration before soliciting their residents, and 25 require inclusion of specific disclosure statements on fundraising appeals.
The benefits of meeting these requirements go beyond safeguarding your compliance: research has shown that including disclosures in fundraising appeals increases donation levels.
This is an ideal time to check your fundraising footprint. Has it changed since last year? Are there new states where you’re soliciting now? In the case of fundraising online, since solicitation follows the “ask,” your organization is potentially subject to requirements wherever your messages are being broadcast. Once you’ve established your footprint, you can confirm your registration status in each state where you’re soliciting.
This also a good time to check your good standing with secretaries of state. Good standing is based on maintaining a registered agent and filing timely annual reports, among other requirements. If you’re not sure of your registration status or good standing, we can help. Our software is linked to secretary of state databases nationwide, so our compliance specialists can confirm your status in minutes. Just get in touch or call us at 1-888-995-5895.
If you’re working with a professional solicitor or other fundraising professional, you may have additional requirements to meet. Commercial co-ventures also carry specific requirements that differ from state to state. Make sure you’ve done your research and met the requirements to cover all of your year-end fundraising activities.
Finally, make sure to let your staff and directors knows that you’re registered for fundraising. Have a quick huddle to brief them on your fundraising compliance. Since your board members are personally responsible for ensuring that your nonprofit meets applicable legal and regulatory requirements, it’s important to let them know you’ve taken steps to safeguard your operations and reputation. This allows board members and staff to share that information with potential donors and reach out with confidence.
If you’d rather turn your attention to sharing your mission with the world and connecting with new donors in new ways, we get you. We take the work and worry of state requirements off your plate so you can focus on better things, like sharing in the excitement and energy of Giving Tuesday. We’ve helped thousands of nonprofits — including 92nd Street Y — stay compliant, and we’re ready to help you, too!
Let’s talk, 1-888-995-5895, or contact us online.