Wisconsin 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!

Wisconsin charitable solicitation license, Wisconsin fundraising license
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Company Licenses

Wisconsin Nonprofit & Fundraising Company Licenses

Wisconsin Bingo License

Game Type:

Bingo

Agency:Wisconsin Division of Gaming - Office of Charitable Gaming
Organization Age Requirement:

3 years of continuous existence immediately preceeding licensure.

Age Restrictions:

Participants must be at least 18 years old. Minors accompanied by a parent or legal guardian are allowed to play bingo.

Prize Limits:

The maximum bingo prize is $2,500 for a single event and $500 for a single game.

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Initial Registration

Agency:Wisconsin Division of Gaming - Office of Charitable Gaming
Form:

Bingo License Application

Agency Fee:

$10 fee for each bingo occasion + $5 fee for the designated member.

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Registration Renewal

Agency:Wisconsin Division of Gaming - Office of Charitable Gaming
Form:

Bingo License Application (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

$10 fee for each bingo occasion + $5 fee for the designated member.

Due:

Annually by the end of the 12 month licensing period. Licensing periods begin on the first of the month during which the first bingo event is held.

Notes:

Bingo reports must be filed every 6 months along with the occupational tax payment.

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Wisconsin Charitable Gift Annuity Registration

Not required



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

No filing is required, but charities need to meet certain conditions before issuing charitable gift annuities.

Wisconsin Charitable Organization Registration

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions - Division of Banking
Law:

Wisconsin Statutes Ch.202; Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter RL 5

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:1/16/19

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • A person that is exempt from filing a federal annual information return under section 6033 (a) (3) (A) (i) and (iii) and (C) (i) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • A candidate for national, state, or local office or a political party or other committee or group required to file financial information with the federal elections commission or a filing officer under s. 11.0102 (1)
  • Charitable organizations which do not intend to raise or actually receive contributions in excess of $25,000 during a fiscal year and all of their functions are performed by volunteers and no assets or income are paid to any officer or member of the charitable organization
  • A fraternal, civic, benevolent, patriotic, or social organization that solicits contributions solely from its membership
  • A veterans organization incorporated under ch. 188 or chartered under federal law or the service foundation of such an organization recognized in the bylaws of the organization
  • A nonprofit, postsecondary educational institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency or association approved under 20 USC 1099b, or an educational institution and its authorized charitable foundations that solicit contributions only from its students and their families, alumni, faculty, trustees, corporations, foundations, and patients
  • A person soliciting contributions for the relief of a named individual if all contributions, without any deductions, are given to the named individual
  • A state agency, as defined in s. 20.001 (1), or a local governmental unit, as defined in s. 605.01 (1)
  • A private school, as defined in s. 118.165
  • Any corporation established by an act of the United States Congress that is required by federal law to submit to Congress annual reports, fully audited by the United States Department of Defense
Law:

WI Stat § 202.12(5)

Fact Checked:1/16/20

Initial Registration

Form:

Form 296: Charitable Organization Registration Application

Filing Method:

Mail

Agency Fee:

$15

Notes:
  • Note the list of 17 attachments that first-time registrants must attach to the application. This includes disclosing contracts with professional fundraisers.
  • The Preseident and CFO must sign. Signatures must be notarized.
  • Some Wisconsin counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.
Fact Checked:2/22/17

Registration Renewal
Charitable Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$54

Due:

Annually by July 31. An organization that files an initial registration on or after June 1 does not need to renew their registration until the following calendar year. If an initial registration is filed before June 1, renewal must be filed by July 31 of the same calendar year.

Penalties:

There is a $25 late fee.

Notes:
  • There are two renewal filings for charitable organizations: charitable registration renewal and charitable organization annual report.
  • This annual renewal is different than the corporate annual financial report filed with DFI.
  • The renewal period closes September 30th. After this date, you must file a new initial registration.
  • You may not file for an extension of the due date.
  • A CPA audit is required for large nonprofits.
Fact Checked:2/22/17

Registration Renewal
Charitable Organization Annual Financial Report

Form:

Annual Financial Reports may be filed on one of three forms that your firm can use based on qualifying factors.

Filing Method:

Mail.

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

You must file an annual financial report within 12 months after the close of your fiscal year if you received >$5,000 in contributions.

Notes:
  • There are two renewal filings for charitable organizations: charitable registration renewal and charitable organization annual report.
Fact Checked:2/22/17

Change of Fiscal Year

Form:

Form 1952 or Form 308

Agency Fee:

$0

Turnaround:

1-2 business days

Notes:

Submit the short year financials during the standard renewal process.

Fact Checked:12/7/18

Wisconsin Commercial Co-Venturer Registration

Not required



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

Wisconsin 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.

Registration Not Required

Not required



Wisconsin Fundraising Counsel Registration

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) - Corporation Section
Bond Requirements:

$20,000

Fact Checked:7/5/18

Automatic Exemption

Notes:

Fundraising counsels that do not have custody of contributions may not be required to register. See sections A and B of the Application for Registration as a Fund-Raising Counsel to determine whether or not you will need to register.

Fact Checked:6/12/20

Initial Registration

Form:

Form 294: Application for Registration as a Fund-Raising Counsel

Agency Fee:

$50

Fact Checked:7/5/18

Registration Renewal

Form:

Form 294: Application for Registration as a Fund-Raising Counsel (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

$50

Due:

Annually by August 31.

Fact Checked:7/5/18

Contract Filing

Due:

Before a fund-raising counsel performs any material services for a charitable organization that is required to be registered, the charitable organization and the fund-raising counsel shall contract in writing, and the fund-raising counsel shall file the contract with the department.

Fact Checked:8/5/19

Wisconsin Professional Fundraiser Registration

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) - Corporation Section
Bond Requirements:

$5,000 for fundraisers that do not have custody of contributions and $20,000 for fundraisers that do have custody of contributions.

Initial Registration

Form:

Form 294: Application for Registration as a Professional Fund-Raiser or Fund-Raising Counsel

Agency Fee:

$50

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

Registration Renewal

Form:

Form 294: Application for Registration as a Professional Fund-Raiser or Fund-Raising Counsel (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

$50

Due:

Annually by August 31.

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

Contract Filing

Form:

Form 1941: Professional Fund-Raiser Solicitation Notice

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

File a solicitation notice prior to the start of the performance of a contract with a charity.

Fact Checked:8/5/19

Financial Reporting

Due:

Upon request from the Department of Financial Institutions.

Notes:

A final accounting of each fundraising event should be kept for three years and presented upon request.

Fact Checked:8/5/19

Wisconsin Raffle License

Game Type:

Raffles

Agency:Wisconsin Division of Gaming - Office of Charitable Gaming
Organization Age Requirement:

3 years of continuous existence immediately preceeding licensure.

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Initial Registration

Agency:Wisconsin Division of Gaming - Office of Charitable Gaming
Form:

Original Raffle License Application

Agency Fee:

$25

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Registration Renewal

Agency:Wisconsin Division of Gaming - Office of Charitable Gaming
Form:

Annual Raffle Renewal Application

Agency Fee:

$25

Due:

Annually by the end of the 12 month licensing period. Licensing periods begin on the first of the month during which the first raffle event is held.

Fact Checked:1/10/18

Individual Licenses

Wisconsin Individual Nonprofit & Fundraising Licenses

Wisconsin Individual Professional Fundraiser Registration

Not required



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

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 Wisconsin.

Registration Not Required

Not required



Learn about fundraising in other states:

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