About the registration process:
What is charitable solicitation registration?
In order for states to provide their constituents with basic information about charities to whom they might donate and protect them and worthy charities from fraudulent ones, most states require charities soliciting in their state to file certain financial, organizational, and governance information.
Are all charities required to register?
Most states have a list of categories of charitable organizations that are exempt from registration. The State Registration Groups page of our questionnaire will help you determine whether or not you are exempt from registration.
When must I register?
Generally, you are not to solicit in a state until you register in the state or are determined exempt, so you should register prior to solicitation in a state. Most states give a 30-day grace period in which you can register after starting soliciting.
In which states am I required to register?
You will need to register in any state in which you solicit, providing that you do not fit in one of their exemption categories. Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming all do not require charitable solicitation registration.
What is solicitation?
States have different definitions, but for the most part it means any oral or written request for funds or services with the promise of the donation going to the support of a charitable purpose. See the definition in the Pennsylvania Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act as a sample.
Does my website count as solicitation?
The Charleston Principles: Guidelines on Charitable Solicitations Using the Internet suggest that internet representation of a charity qualifies as solicitation in a state if it is sent directly to an individual or entity in the state, if there are regular donations coming from the state, or if there is follow-up with donors in the state either by direct mail, telephone, etc. or via other regular contact (such as newsletters, announcements, press releases, etc.)
What is the typical registration process?
The typical process involves:
- Initial registration
- Renewal registration and/or annual reporting (financial reporting)
- this usually occurs at a point in time following the end of your fiscal year or on the anniversary of registration
- a couple states, Georgia and DC, renew biannually
- a few states do not require registration registration renewal, but do require annual financial reporting
What if I am not able to renew on time?
There are three options that states use — our questionnaire will walk you through the state processes:
- Extension of renewal
- No extension of renewal, but extension of annual financial report
- No extensions — usually because they have a later due date
I use paid fundraising services. Are there additional requirements?
Two things you will need to keep in mind:
- A paid fundraiser must be registered in a state before you can begin a solicitation campaign in that state.
- Most states require that contracts with fundraisers and commercial co-ventures usually need to be filed with states prior to solicitation or within 30 days (or at least attached to registration forms)
Are there other requirements?
- Many states also require business registration, even if you are registered or exempt from charitable solicitation registration.
- Maintain records for no less than 3 years — most states require it
About how Simple Charity Registration can help:
How does Simple Charity Registration work?
Our service walks you through a series of questions that will fill in the forms required for the states in which you solicit. It will then produce the form and a checklist and instructions of what you need to do to send in your form. Our How it Works tab will guide you.
Does the charity file the forms or is that part of the service provided by Simple Charity Registration?
The charity files, using the auto-filled forms that appear on the bottom of the left navigation area. There is a checklist attached giving information on where to file, what to attach, and how much to pay, along with additional helpful information.
Is the service fee the same as the state fee? Does the fee include state fees or only the use of the application and printable forms?
Our fee is for our DIY software which streamlines the registration process. State fees are separate and are set by the individual states for either initial registration or renewal/annual reporting.
Our service will help you to determine which type of forms and which states that your organization will need to file your charity compliance documents in as well as help you collect, file and store your organization’s information in an efficient time saving manner. There are also many resources on our site for your organization to take advantage of and we provide reminder emails for your annual compliance deadlines as well as information on changing state filing requirements.
What if I have questions?
Our Customer Support will be glad to help you with technical questions. We can help with some state specific issues, but we are not legal advisers, so we may refer you to the state websites for help.
Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800) 780-6027 or support@SimpleCharityRegstration.com.