California Fundraising Licensing

Resources for charities, businesses, professional fundraisers, and individuals conducting charitable solicitation activities
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Below, you'll find licensing requirements for a range of fundraising activities. At a glance, you can see requirements, fees, filing instructions, and links to forms for everything from charitable gaming and cause marketing to professional fundraisers and charitable gift annuities.

Make sure your fundraising activities meet the unique requirements of each jurisdiction where you’re soliciting. Feel free to explore, bookmark, and share!

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Company Licenses

California Nonprofit & Fundraising Company Licenses

California Bingo License

Not required



Bingo licenses are issued at the county and city level in California.

California Charitable Gift Annuity Registration

Agency:California Department of Insurance
Law:

CA Ins Code § 11520 et seq.

Organization Age Requirement:

10 years of continuous existence immediately preceeding licensure.

Audit Requirements:

An audited financial statement is required with the application.

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Certificate of Authority as a Grants and Annuities Society

Filing method:

Mail or online.

Agency fee:

$4,233

Notarize:Required
Notes:

Charities must authorize the creation of the annuity fund by board resolution. In addition, charities need a segregated reserve fund and must follow reserve fund regulations to qualify for issuance of charitable gift annuities.

Registration Renewal

Form:

G&A Annual Statement

Agency fee:

$136

Due:

Annually within 120 days of the organization's fiscal year end.

Notes:

In addition to annual statements, charities must submit quarterly statements with information on each annuity agreement.

California Charitable Solicitation Registration

Agency:California Attorney General - Registry of Charitable Trusts
Law:

California Government Code § 12585; California Code of Regulations, Title 11 § 300

One-Time Exemption Registration

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Religious organizations
  • Most educational institutions
  • Nonprofit hospitals
Notes:

If you believe you are exempt, make a request in writing to the California Attorney General's Office prior to soliciting. You will receive an exemption letter in return.

Initial Registration

Form:

Form CT-1: Initial Registration Form

Instructions:

Initial Registration Guide

Filing method:

Mail

Agency fee:

$25

Notes:
  • Your organization must register within 30 days of receiving assets (property, funds, etc) that are held in a trust.
  • Note the list of attachments required.
  • Any authorized or director may sign. Signature need not be notarized.
  • Some California counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.

Registration Renewal

Form:

Form RRF-1: Annual Registration Renewal Report

Filing method:

Mail

Agency fee:

$0-$300 depending on gross annual revenue.

Due:

Renewal is due annually 4 months and 15 days after the close of your organization's fiscal year. If your fiscal year closes December 31, then renewal is due May 15. 

Penalties:

Failure to submit renewal on time can result in loss of tax exemption and assessment of minimum tax of $800, plus interest, and/or fines or filing penalties. The Attorney General will notify the California Franchise Tax Board to disallow your state tax exemption. Directors, trustees, officers, and return preparers are personally liable for these fees and penalties - you cannot use charitable assets to pay them, they must be paid out of of pocket!

Notes:
  • Note the list of attachments required.
  • Any authorized or director may sign. Signature need not be notarized.

Change of Fiscal Year

Form:

Form RRF-1: Annual Registration Renewal Report

Agency fee:

Varies

Notes:

File the renewal application for the new fiscal year along with a letter stating that the organization has changed their fiscal reporting period.

California Commercial Co-Venturer Annual Registration

Agency:California Attorney General - Registry of Charitable Trusts
Notes:

Registration is optional.

Registration Renewal

Form:

Form CT-5CF: Commercial Coventurer Annual Registration (Renewal)

Agency fee:

$350

Due:

Annually by January 15.

Financial Reporting

Form:

Form CT-6CF: Commercial Coventurer for Charitable Purposes Annual Financial Report

Agency fee:

$0

Due:

Annually by January 30th.

California Commercial Fundraiser Registration

Agency:California Attorney General - Registry of Charitable Trusts
Bond Requirements:

$25,000

Initial Registration

Form:

Form CT-1CF: Annual Registration Form

Agency fee:

$350

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required

Registration Renewal

Form:

Form CT-1CF: Annual Registration Form (Renewal)

Agency fee:

$350

Due:

Annually by January 15.

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required

Contract Filing

Form:

Form CT-10CF: Notice of Intent To Solicit For Charitable Purposes - Commercial Fundraiser

Agency fee:

$0

Due:

File a notice of entry into contract at least 10 days prior to the start of the performance of the contract.

Financial Reporting

Form:

Form CT-2CF: Annual Financial Report – Commercial Fundraisers

Agency fee:

$0

Due:

Annually by January 30th.

California Fundraising Counsel Registration

Agency:California Attorney General - Registry of Charitable Trusts

Registration Renewal

Form:

Form CT-3CF: Annual Registration Form - Fundraising Counsel (Renewal)

Agency fee:

$350

Due:

Annually by January 15.

Contract Filing

Form:

Form CT-11CF: Notice of Intent To Solicit For Charitable Purposes - Fundraising Counsel

Agency fee:

$0

Due:

File a notice of entry into contract at least 10 days prior to the start of the performance of the contract.

California Raffle Registration

Game Type:

Raffles

Agency:California Attorney General - Registry of Charitable Trusts
Organization Age Requirement:

1 year of continuous existence in California.

Initial Registration

Agency:California Attorney General - Registry of Charitable Trusts
Form:

Form CT-NRP-1: Nonprofit Raffle Registration

Agency fee:

$20

Registration Renewal

Agency:California Attorney General - Registry of Charitable Trusts
Form:

Form CT-NRP-1: Nonprofit Raffle Registration (Renewal)

Agency fee:

$20

Due:

Annually by September 1.

California Registration Certificate

Game Type:

Poker, Baccarat, and other games of chance.

Agency:California Office of the Attorney General - Bureau of Gambling Control
Organization Age Requirement:

3 years of continuous existence in California.

Age Restrictions:

Participants must be at least 21 years old.

Notes:

Registration allows charities to host one game night over the course of a year.

Initial Registration

Agency:California Office of the Attorney General - Bureau of Gambling Control
Filing method:

Online only.

Agency fee:

$100

Registration Renewal

Agency:California Office of the Attorney General - Bureau of Gambling Control
Filing method:

Online only.

Agency fee:

$100

Due:

Annually

Individual Licenses

California Individual Nonprofit & Fundraising Licenses

California Individual Professional Fundraiser Registration

Not required



Solicitors who are not employed by a professional fundraising firm but operate independently may be required to register. Employees of professional fundraising firms are generally not required to register as an individual solicitor in California.

Registration Not Required

Not required



Learn about fundraising in other states:

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