Ohio 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

Ohio Nonprofit & Fundraising Company Licenses

Ohio Bingo License

Game Type:

Bingo

Agency:Ohio Attorney General
Organization Age Requirement:

2 years of continuous existence immediately preceeding licensure.

Prize Limits:

The aggregate prize for a bingo session cannot exceed $6,000.

Law:

ORC § 2915.01 et seq.

Notes:

Charities may not need a license if they only intend to hold a raffle.

Initial Registration

Agency:Ohio Attorney General
Filing Method:

Online only.

Agency Fee:

Fees vary by type of games offered. $200 for bingo and as much as $5,000 for instant bingo, depending on revenue.

Law:

ORC § 2915.01 et seq.

Registration Renewal

Agency:Ohio Attorney General
Filing Method:

Online only.

Agency Fee:

Fees vary by type of games offered. $200 for bingo and as much as $5,000 for instant bingo, depending on revenue.

Due:

Annually by January 1.

Ohio Charitable Gift Annuity Registration

Not required



Charitable Gift Annuity licensure is not required on the State level in Ohio.

Ohio statutes do not address charitable gift annuities, but the state generally considers charities that issue annuities exempt from insurance regulation.

Ohio Charitable Registration

Agency:Ohio Attorney General
Law:

Ohio Revised Code § 1716.01 and Ohio Revised Code § 109.26

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No

One-Time Exemption Registration

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Charitable Trust Act Exemptions:

  • Any governmental unit. For purposes of this paragraph, "governmental unit" means a political subdivision, agency, department, county, parish, municipal corporation, instrumentality or other unit of the government of the United States, a state, or a foreign country.
  • Organizations which are organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes. These include churches, conventions and associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church.
  • Educational institutions which normally maintain a regular faculty and curriculum and normally have a regular body of pupils or students in attendance at the place where its educational activities are carried on
  • Charitable trusts in which all charitable interests are contingent, revocable, or subject to an unlimited power of invasion for purposes other than charitable purposes
  • Charitable trusts which are not located in Ohio. For purposes of this paragraph, a charitable trust is located in Ohio and must register if not otherwise exempt if it is incorporated or otherwise organized in Ohio, conducts program services in Ohio or has assets in Ohio. For the purpose of this paragraph, "assets" includes cash, inventory, equipment, real estate, securities, investments, financial accounts and any other property

 

Charitable Organizations Act Exemptions:

  • Any religious agencies and organizations, and charities, agencies, and organizations operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization
  • Any charitable organization that meets all of the following requirements:
    • It has been in continuous existence in this state for a period of at least two years;
    • It has received from the internal revenue service a determination letter that is currently in effect, stating that the charitable organization is exempt from federal income taxation under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
    • It has registered with the attorney general as a charitable trust pursuant to section 109.26 of the Revised Code;
    • It has filed an annual report with and paid the required fee to the attorney general pursuant to section 109.31 of the Revised Code.
  • Any educational institution, when solicitation of contributions is confined to alumni, faculty, trustees, or the student membership and their families
  • Every person other than an individual, when solicitation of contributions for a charitable purpose or on behalf of a charitable organization is confined to its existing membership, present or former employees, or present or former trustees
  • Any public primary or secondary school, when solicitation of contributions is confined to alumni, faculty, or the general population of the local school district
  • Any booster club that is organized and operated in conjunction with and for the benefit of students of public primary or secondary schools
  • Any charitable organization that does not receive gross revenue, excluding grants or awards from the government or an organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(a) and described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, in excess of $25,000 during its immediately preceding fiscal year, if the organization does not compensate any person primarily to solicit contributions.
Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$0

Law:

ORC § 1716.03 and OAC 109:1-1-02

Notes:
  • The registration requirement for charities in Ohio is established in two separate sections of law, meaning that charities may be exempt under one act but required to register under the other.
  • Charities should file an online request for exemption determination if they believe they are exempt. Exemptions do not expire as long as the organization continues to qualify under the exemption criteria.

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$0 for organizations that have not yet solicited in Ohio. Fees range from $0-$200, depending on contributions, for organizations that have previously solicited in Ohio.

Turnaround:

1 week

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Notes:
  • The CFO / treasurer must sign
  • Some Ohio counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.
Before you Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  • Check the available exemptions to see if your charity is eligible for exemption from the full registration requirement.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.

Foreign Applicants:

  • Check the available exemptions to see if your charity is eligible for exemption from the full registration requirement.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.
  • If you will foreign qualify in Ohio, obtain a certificate of good standing from your home state to submit during the foreign qualification process. The certificate cannot be more than 90 days old when filing foreign qualification documents.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the Ohio Secretary of State.
  2. Create a filing account online and complete a charitable registration through the Ohio Attorney General's office.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Determine whether or not your charity will need to foreign qualify based on your activity in Ohio. If not required, skip to number 3.
  2. File foreign qualification documents with the Ohio Secretary of State.
  3. Create a filing account online and complete a charitable registration through the Ohio Attorney General's office.
Required Attachments:

  • IRS form 990
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • IRS determination letter
  • List of officers and directors

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

For organizations registering under the Ohio Charitable Trust Act:

  • $0 if assets are less than $25,000
  • $50 if assets are $25,000 to $100,000
  • $100 if assets are $100,000 to $500,000
  • $200 if assets are $500,000 or more

 

For organizations registering under the Ohio Charitable Organizations Act:

  • $0 if contributions are less than $5,000
  • $50 if contributions are $5,000 to $25,000
  • $100 if contributions are $25,000 to $50,000
  • $200 if contributions are $50,000 or more
Due:
  • Annually within 4.5 months after the end of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31, then renewal is due by May 15.
  • There is no official start to the renewal period, so renewals may be submitted as soon as financials become available for the most recently completed fiscal year.
Due Date Extension:

Due dates are automatically extended for 180 days beyond the original due date.

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Penalties:

There is a $200 late fee.

Required Attachments:

  • List of officers and directors

Change of Fiscal Year

Agency Fee:

$0

Turnaround:

1-2 business days

Notes:

Email the state to inform them of the change.

Cancellation

Form:

Final Annual Report and Asset Disposition

Filing Method:

Mail, fax, or email to CharitableRegistration@OhioAGO.gov

Agency Fee:

$0

Notes:

An organization that no longer solicits in Ohio should fill out and return a Solicitation Withdrawal form, which the state provides upon request. Fees and/or final annual reports may be required, depending on when the organization ceased soliciting.

Ohio Commercial Co-Venturer Registration

Not required



Commercial Co-venturer licensure is not required on the State level in Ohio.

Ohio does not currently have a traditional registration requirement for commercial co-venturers, but they may need to follow other regulations before and after fundraising events.

With some limited exceptions, a fund-raising counsel is any person, group, or other entity that, for compensation, plans, manages, advises, consults, or prepares material for or with respect to the solicitation in Ohio of contributions for any charitable organization or at any time has custody of contributions from a solicitation, but does not solicit contributions and does not employ, procure, or otherwise engage any compensated person to solicit contributions; see ORC 1716.01.

Fund-raising counsel are required to register with the Ohio Attorney General only if they will at any time have custody of charitable contributions from a solicitation conducted in Ohio.

Ohio Fundraising Counsel Registration

Agency:Ohio Attorney General
Law:

O.R.C. § 1716.05

Notes:

The fundraising counsel registration is only required of counsels that collect or at any time have custody of charitable contributions.

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Counsels that do not and will not have custody of contributions from a solicitation are exempt from the registration requirement.

Law:

O.R.C. § 1716.05

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$200

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$200

Due:

Annually by March 31.

Financial Reporting

Form:

Solicitation Campaign Financial Report

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Within 90 days after a campaign has ended and on the anniversary of commencement for campaigns lasting more than a year.

Notarize:Required

With some limited exceptions, a professional solicitor is any person, group, or other entity that, for compensation, performs on behalf of or for the benefit of a charitable organization any service in connection with which contributions are or will be solicited in Ohio by the compensated professional or by any person it employs, procures, or otherwise engages directly or indirectly to solicit contributions; see Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 1716.01.

Ohio Professional Solicitor Registration

Agency:Ohio Attorney General
Bond Requirements:

$25,000

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$200

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$200

Due:

Annually by March 31.

Contract Filing

Form:

Solicitation Notice

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

File a solicitation notice prior to the start of each solicitation campaign.

Notarize:Required

Financial Reporting

Form:

Solicitation Campaign Financial Report

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Within 90 days after a campaign has ended and on the anniversary of commencement for campaigns lasting more than a year.

Notarize:Required

Ohio Raffle License

Not required



Charitable Gaming licensure is not required on the State level in Ohio.

There is no state-level raffle license in Ohio, but the law limits which organizations can hold a raffle event.

Local Nonprofit & Fundraising Company Licenses

City of Columbus Charitable Solicitations Permit

Agency:City of Columbus Department of Public Safety
Law:

Columbus Code of Ordinances Ch. 525

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Any bona fide, publicly recognized evangelical, missionary, or religious organization or charities, agencies, or organizations operated, supervised, or controlled by such organizations
  • Any college, university or school accredited by a regional accrediting association such as the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools or approved by the Department of Education of the state of Ohio, or person acting under the auspices of such colleges, universities or schools
  • An organization where the solicitation is made solely from the membership of said organization
  • Any person requesting contributions for the relief of any individual or family, specified by name at the time of the solicitation, if all of the contributions collected, without any deductions whatsoever, are turned over to the named beneficiary
  • Any person, when contemplated gross contributions of a fund solicitation will not exceed $500 in any one year
Law:

Columbus Code of Ordinances § 525.03

Initial Registration

Form:

Charitable Solicitations Application

Agency Fee:

$60

Notarize:Required
Required Attachments:
  • Proof of Registration with the State of Ohio, Attorney General’s Office
  • Proof of Registration with the State of Ohio, Secretary of State’s Office (Required if organization is located in Ohio)
  • Copy of IRS determination letter
  • Articles of incorporation
  • List of officers, directors, trustees, and/or executive personnel
  • List of professional fundraisers and solicitors who will act on behalf of the organization (including copies of contracts)

Registration Renewal

Form:

Charitable Solicitations Application (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

$60

Due:

Annually by the date of issuance.

Required Attachments:
  • Proof of Registration with the State of Ohio, Attorney General’s Office
  • Proof of Registration with the State of Ohio, Secretary of State’s Office (Required if organization is located in Ohio)
  • List of officers, directors, trustees, and/or executive personnel
  • List of professional fundraisers and solicitors who will act on behalf of the organization (including copies of contracts)

City of Columbus Professional Fundraiser License

Agency:City of Columbus Department of Public Safety

Initial Registration

Form:

Professional Fundraiser Application

Agency Fee:

$20 application fee + $150 license fee.

Registration Renewal

Form:

Professional Fundraiser Application (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

$20 application fee + $150 license fee.

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Individual Licenses

Ohio Individual Nonprofit & Fundraising Licenses

Ohio Individual Professional Fundraiser Registration

Not required



Professional Solicitor licensure is not required on the State level in Ohio.

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 Ohio.

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