If your nonprofit organization is seeking to raise funds from donors in the United States, you’ll need to know how to be compliant with each state’s charity registration and reporting requirements. This ultimate 50-state guide covers everything you need to know about nonprofit fundraising registration in the U.S.
Make sure you’re registered as a 501(c)(3) organization.
The first and most important step in the nonprofit fundraising registration process is to make sure your organization is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. This designation from the IRS allows your organization to receive tax-exempt status, which will be critical for donors to deduct their contributions on their income taxes. Additionally, 501(c)(3) organizations can typically receive certain types of grants or donations that are not available to for-profit businesses. Once you’ve received this designation from the IRS, you should be ready to start fundraising!
Research nonprofit fundraising registration requirements in all 50 states or where you will be fundraising.
Once you have your IRS 501(c)(3) status, the next step is to research and make sure your organization is in compliance with all the necessary state regulations. It’s important to remember that different states may have different requirements for nonprofit fundraising registration, so it’s important to take the time and do your research. Depending on which states you will be conducting fundraising activities in, you may need to apply for state-level registrations or registrations at the county or city level depending on local laws. This charitable solicitation registration white paper has a section at the end where it lays out the nonprofit fundraising registration requirements for each of the 50 states.
Submit the appropriate forms to the state charity offices in any applicable states.
Once you have determined which states your organization will need to register with, the next step is to submit the appropriate forms. These forms can be obtained from the nonprofit’s state charity offices. Requirements and paperwork vary by state so make sure you’re following all instructions carefully. Remember that many states require an application and annual renewals. Make sure to keep in compliance in subsequent years so that your nonprofit remains in good standing.
In addition to the standard charity state registrations filings that nonprofits need to do, there can be additional filings if your nonprofit uses a fundraising professional. There are 3 main types of outside fundraising professionals that require additional registrations. They are:
- Fundraising counsels and consultants – These are companies that help come up with fundraising materials, but do not actually ask donors for contributions. Examples are firms that help come up with an email or direct mail fundraising campaign.
- Professional solicitors – These are companies that actually ask donors for contributions. Examples of professional solicitors are telephone solicitors and door-to-door canvassers.
- Commercial coventurers – Who are for-profit companies that agree to give a nonprofit a share of the profit of an item sold in exchange for being able to use the nonprofit as part of its marketing message.
Make sure to file these fundraising professional registrations as well as your 50-state nonprofit fundraising registrations.
Seek expert guidance to ensure that you are up-to-date with all compliance regulations.
When registering your non-profit for fundraising or navigating any other compliance issue, it’s important to get input from professionals. While an online guide can be useful, it is not going to ever be up-to-date or detailed enough to fully explain all nonprofit fundraising registration requirements in all 50 states. An expert in nonprofit compliance can help make sure that you are operating according to all of the required regulations at a federal, state, and local level. It is still essential to seek guidance from a firm familiar with nonprofit fundraising requirement so you can become aware of any potential issues your organization may face and ensure that all regulations are met.
Completely Compliant specializes in nonprofit fundraising registrations. We can help with your filings and make the nonprofit fundraising compliance process easy. We are affordable and helpful. Let us make sure that your nonprofit is completely compliant.