Remember state registration for your charity
Does your nonprofit organization solicit donations from donors in states other than your own? Currently, 39 states and the District of Columbia require that charities be registered in their state to solicit donations from residents in those states. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced many organizations to accept more and more donations online, charities find themselves working with a greater number of states than in the past. It’s important to make sure you are registered not only in your own state, but also any other state with which you work.
At Church Mutual, we know you have a lot on your plate, so we have created a list of steps you can take to make sure you meet each state’s regulations:
- Check each state with which you work to find out if you need to register your charity. The National Association of State Charity Officials provides contact information for each state government.
- Gather the materials you will need to register your charity. This varies from state to state, but usually includes:
- A completed registration form.
- A fee payment.
- A copy of your organization’s most recent Form 990.
- A list of your board of directors and officers.
- Your articles of incorporation and bylaws.
- The methods you plan to use to collect contributions.
- Create a calendar for your organization that tracks the deadlines for each state in which you are registered. You will need to register on an annual basis, so it is important that you keep a careful record of the dates. Otherwise, you will have to pay late fees.
According to the National Association of State Charity Officials, the states that do not require charities to register before soliciting donations include Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming. However, if you solicit funds in any of these states, you should still check to see if they require your organization to provide a disclosure statement to donors.
Some states allow registration exemptions for certain types of organizations. For example, in Pennsylvania, religious institutions and organizations that represent law enforcement, firefighters and other public safety employees do not have to register before soliciting funds.
Make sure you understand each state’s definition of “solicitation.” The most obvious examples are telephone calls, direct mail, and radio and TV ads. But don’t forget about email. If you send a message to an email list that has a “Donate now” button, you likely will need to be registered in each state that is represented in your email list.
To learn more about insurance protection for all types of nonprofit organizations, visit churchmutual.com.