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.

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.

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.

Wisconsin Charitable Gift Annuity Registration

Not required



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.220; Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter RL 5

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Religious organizations that are exempt from IRS 990 filing requirements
  • Political groups
  • 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.
  • Membership organizations
  • Veterans organizations
  • Educational organizations
  • Appeals for individuals
  • State agencies
  • Private schools
  • Congressionally chartered organizations that submit financial reports to the Secretary of Defense

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.

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:

$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.

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.

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.

Wisconsin Commercial Co-Venturer Registration

Not required



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

Registration Renewal

Form:

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

Agency fee:

$50

Due:

Annually by August 31.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Initial Registration

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

Original Raffle License Application

Agency fee:

$25

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.

Individual Licenses

Wisconsin Individual Nonprofit & Fundraising Licenses

Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin.

Registration Not Required

Not required



Learn about fundraising in other states:

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