Charitable Solicitation Registration

Nearly every state requires charitable organizations that solicit money to register before fundraising. Often, there are exceptions to registration, such as a church soliciting from its membership or organizations that are regulated under other laws such as political action committees. Otherwise, however, the definition of "soliciting" is very broad and could arguably include simply maintaining a website requesting donations, depending on the state.

Additional registration requirements often apply to professional fundraisers, fundraising counsel, and commercial co-ventures. For an excellent summary of these laws in all U.S. jurisdictions, see State Charitable Solicitation Registration Requirements by Asiatico & Associates, PLLC.

Fortunately, a charitable organization that intends to engage in a nationwide fundraising campaign can register in most jurisdictions using a single form, thanks to the Unified Registration Statement, or URS. The URS is available as an alternative to filing the state-specific form in each participating jurisdiction; thus, a nonprofit may use either the state form or the URS in most registration states.

According to the URS website, 37 jurisdictions currently accept the URS (although Arizona's registration law was recently repealed), with 14 of those requiring a state-specific supplemental form. Colorado, Florida, and Oklahoma, and most recently Nevada, require charitable solicitation registration but do not accept the URS. Nevada is not currently listed on the URS website and others as a state that requires charitable solicitation because the requirement is so recent, becoming effective January 1, 2014. Be sure to check state law before soliciting for your charity!