Washington 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!

Washington charitable solicitation license, Washington fundraising license
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Company Licenses

Washington Nonprofit & Fundraising Company Licenses

Washington Charitable Gaming Licenses

Game Type:

Bingo, raffles, casino nights, amusement games, and other games of chance.

Agency:Washington State Gambling Commission
Organization Age Requirement:

12 months of continuous existence immediately preceeding licensure.

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Initial Registration

Agency:Washington State Gambling Commission
Form:

Form GC4-028: Application - Non-Profit Organization

Agency Fee:

See fee schedule.

Notes:

Washington allows charities to conduct a number of gaming activities for charitable purposes.

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Registration Renewal

Agency:Washington State Gambling Commission
Form:

Form GC4-055: Application - Annual Renewal - Non-Profit Organization

Agency Fee:

See fee schedule.

Due:

Annually

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Washington Charitable Gift Annuity Registration

Agency:Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner
Law:

RCW § 48.38.010 through RCW § 48.38.075 and WAC § 284-38

Organization Age Requirement:

3 years of continuous existence immediately preceeding licensure.

Minimum Unrestricted Cash or Cash Equivalent Requirement:

$500,000

Audit Requirements:

Audited financial statements are required within 9 months after the organization's fiscal year end.

Fact Checked:12/4/17

Initial Registration

Form:

Charitable Gift Annuity Application Packet

Agency Fee:

$25

Notarize:Required
Notes:

Approved organization must establish a separate reserve fund that follows the standards of RCW § 48.74.030.

Fact Checked:12/4/17

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$25 + $5 per annuity issued during the previous calendar year.

Due:

Annually within 60 days of the organization's fiscal year end.

Notes:

In addition to filing the annual report, charities must also submit a public inspection copy of their IRS form 990 within 15 days of its filing with the IRS.

Fact Checked:12/4/17

Washington Charitable Organization Registration

Agency:Washington Secretary of State - Charities Program
Law:

Washington Revised Code Annotated §19.09.020 and following; Washington Administrative Code §434-120-100 through 434-120-175

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:9/7/21

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Organizations that raise less than $50,000 from the public in any accounting year when all the activities of the organization, including all fundraising activities, are performed by volunteers
  • Appeals for funds on behalf of a specific individual named in the solicitation, but only if all of the proceeds of the solicitation are given to or expended for the direct benefit of that individual
  • Churches and their integrated auxiliaries
  • Political organizations
Law:

RCW 19.09.020 and RCW 19.09.081

Notes:

Exempt organizations can elect to file an Optional Registration for Charitable Organization application with the secretary of state.

Fact Checked:1/16/20

Initial Registration

Form:

Charitable Organization Registration / Renewal (Including the WA State Combined Fund Drive)

Instructions:

Washington Charitable Organization Registration Instructions

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$60 + optional $50 expedite fee for 2-3 business day processing.

Turnaround:

1 week

Notes:

Some Washington 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 Washington, obtain a certificate of good standing from your home state to submit during the foreign qualification process. The certificate cannot be more than 60 days old when filing foreign qualification documents.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the Washington Secretary of State - Corporations Division.
  2. Submit a Charitable Organization Registration form and all required attachments to the Washington Secretary of State - Charities Program.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Determine whether or not your charity will need to foreign qualify based on your activity in Washington. If not required, skip to number 3.
  2. File foreign qualification documents with the Washington Secretary of State - Corporations Division.
  3. Submit a Charitable Organization Registration form and all required attachments to the Washington Secretary of State - Charities Program.
Required Attachments:

  • IRS determination letter
  • List of officers and directors
  • Professional fundraising contracts
  • List of other states where registered to solicit
Fact Checked:9/7/21

Registration Renewal

Form:

Charitable Organization Registration / Renewal

Instructions:

Washington Charitable Organization Registration Instructions

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$40 + optional $50 expedite fee for 2-3 business day processing

Due:
  • Annually within 11 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal calendar ends December 31, then renewal is due by November 30.
  • 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:

No extensions are available for charitable registration due dates.

Penalties:

There is a late fee of $50.

Notes:
  • The late fee is assessed by the received date, not the postmarked date. The state accepts overnight/express mail at a different mailing address.
  • Attach your annual financial report.
  • The URS is no longer accepted as of September 12, 2014.
Required Attachments:

  • List of officers and directors
  • Professional fundraising contracts
  • List of other states where registered to solicit
Fact Checked:9/7/21

Contract Filing

Form:

Fundraising Service Contract Registration

Agency Fee:

$20

Due:

Before a charitable organization may contract with a commercial fund-raiser for any fund-raising service or activity, the charitable organization and commercial fund-raiser shall complete and file a registration form with the secretary. The registration must be filed by the charitable organization on the form approved by the secretary.

Fact Checked:8/5/19

Change of Fiscal Year

Form:

Charitable Organization Amendment

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$0 by mail or $20 online.

Turnaround:

1-2 business days

Fact Checked:12/7/18

Cancellation

Form:

Charitable Organization Closure

Agency Fee:

$0

Notes:

To close out your registration, submit a closure application with the required attachments.

Fact Checked:7/14/20

Washington Commercial Co-Venturer Registration

Not required



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

Washington 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.

Commercial Fundraiser is any entity that for compensation or other consideration directly or indirectly solicits or receives contributions for or on behalf of any charitable organization or charitable purpose, or that is engaged in the business of, or represents to persons as independently engaged in the business of, soliciting or receiving contribution for such purposes. A commercial coventurer, fundraising counsel or consultant is not a commercial fundraiser.

Washington Commercial Fundraiser Registration

Agency:Washington Secretary of State - Charities Program
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Bond Requirements:

$25,000

Fact Checked:8/13/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Commercial Fundraiser Registration

Agency Fee:

$300

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Before you Apply:
  • Provide the organization’s UBI number
  •  Provide the full names of the three people receiving the highest compensation. At least one person is required. 
  • A minimum of one person or officer accepting responsibility for the organization must be provided
  • If the organization has completed a full accounting year complete the Solicitation Report.
    • In the Solicitation Report the accounting year and all financial fields must be completed. If there is no financial
      information to report for a specific line write “0” or a line through that field. If any financial fields are left blank,
      the filing will be returned.
    • If the organization has not completed a full accounting year provide the first accounting year end date only and
      continue to section (13) Types of Solicitation. 
  •  If adding a Subcontractor, provide the Subcontractor Name, registration number, address, and phone number. If there is more than one subcontractor. The attached list must include all information requested above. If a Subcontractor is added they must be listed in the current Fundraising Service Contract(s) on record with our office. If the contract is not current the Charity must submit a Fundraising Service Contract Amendment.
Fact Checked:12/15/16

Registration Renewal

Form:

Commercial Fundraiser Renewal

Agency Fee:

$225

Due:

Annually

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Fact Checked:12/15/16

Contract Filing

Form:

Fundraising Service Contract Registration

Agency Fee:

$20

Due:

Before a charitable organization may contract with a commercial fund-raiser for any fund-raising service or activity, the charitable organization and commercial fund-raiser shall complete and file a registration form with the secretary. The registration must be filed by the charitable organization on the form approved by the secretary.

Fact Checked:8/13/21

Washington Fundraising Counsel Registration

Not required



Fundraising Counsel licensure is not required on the State level in Washington.

Fundraising counsels are exempt from Washington's registration requirements.

Individual Licenses

Washington Individual Nonprofit & Fundraising Licenses

Washington Individual Professional Fundraiser Registration

Not required



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

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 Washington.

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