Charitable solicitation registration.
Navigating the maze of multiple state requirements.
by Sarah Pack
Americans have a long history of charitable giving. Whether compelled by the human spirit to rebuild communities and lives following disaster or tragedy, or driven by a deep sense of compassion for a particular vulnerable group or issue, many Americans support various causes through money, service, or both. Such contributions help sustain charitable organizations and make it possible for them to work to advance their respective missions.
While the unwavering human spirit of giving is incredibly inspiring, it unfortunately must co-exist with the reality of people who prey on the philanthropic nature of others for their own personal gain. To combat this reality, most states require charitable organizations to register before soliciting a single donation. Nearly all states have created exemptions for religious and certain other organizations, but most organizations must comply with a variety of registration requirements, some of which are very complicated. States want to encourage their citizens’ philanthropy, but they must do so in a way that protects citizens from fraud. In an effort to preserve this balance, many states encourage citizens to research charities before giving and some provide information online to assist in that research. Donors, charitable organizations, and state regulators must each do their part to ensure the balance remains between responsible giving and protection from fraud.
For charitable organizations seeking contributions in multiple states, including online, navigating the various state registration requirements can be particularly tricky. Because failure to comply may result in financial and criminal penalties, however, charities should not delay registration. To find out whether your state (and others you reach out to for contributions) requires registration, contact us for more information.