Charitable Solicitation Registration

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States oversee solicitation of their citizens. Before soliciting your nonprofit must likely register with the state's charitable organization registrar.

In which states must you register?

44 states and the District of Columbia have laws specific to nonprofit fundraising activity . Of these, 40 states and D.C. require registration. Your nonprofit must likely register if either of the following are true:

  • The nonprofit solicits the citizens or raises funds in that state.
  • The nonprofit is “physically present” in that state such as by having an office, employees, or conducting program activities.

For more information, please see our comprehensive Fundraising Compliance 50-State Guide or the resources available at the National Council of Nonprofits.

How do you register?

The Unified Registration Statement (URS) attempts to streamline the registration process across states. By completing the URS once, you may simply produce copies, add in state-specific information, and submit the URS and appropriate fees to each state registrar. Alternatively, you can access each state’s charitable organization registration forms and follow their instructions. The registration statement requests information about the organization’s governance and finances.

What is annual registration?

As a nonprofit, the state rules with which you seek compliance are the “solicitation laws”. Compliance primarily consists of filing your initial registration and then an ongoing registration statement. Most ongoing registrations are annual. The annual registration requests updated governance and finance information. There may be an annual filing fee for the privilege of soliciting state residents.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Submit charitable registrations prior to fundraising
  2. File registrations in each state and use the URS to save time filing
  3. Remember to continue filing ongoing registrations, usually annually

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