Nonprofit Regulatory Compliance

Sorting out regulatory compliance from state to state is no easy task.

We’re here to help, assisting organizations with all nonprofit statutory requirements and charitable fundraising regulations. While most firms focus solely on state fundraising issues, we offer a broad range of legal and practical services for nonprofits and those who aid in requests for public support.

We have a proven track record.

We have a proven track record of challenging the constitutionality of state statutes and defending organizations against claims of statutory violation. We have more experience in this area than any other law firm in the United States. As more cities, counties, states and federal agencies seek to control the daily functions of nonprofits and influence charitable fundraising, we’re dedicated to keeping you well informed. And to guiding you through the complex regulatory hurdles of raising funds: certificates of authority, annual registration and renewals and other charitable fundraising regulations.

Errol Copilevitz and the U.S. Supreme Court

At Copilevitz, Lam & Raney, we also have long experience in addressing First Amendment questions and matters of free speech raised by state registration, reporting and regulatory requirements and their effect on interstate commerce. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients at all levels of state and federal courts, even the U.S. Supreme Court. Our senior partner, Errol Copilevitz, has been lead attorney twice before the U.S. Supreme Court: Riley v. National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, Inc. (1988) now known as the “Riley case” and, Illinois ex rel. Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates, Inc. (2003).

Helping with Certificates of Authority

States require certificates of authority from foreign corporations that do business within their state. Some states have interpreted this requirement to apply to charitable organizations as well as “for profit” organizations. The certificate of authority, in addition to charitable registration, may be required even if the charitable organization has no physical presence in the state. This practice is of questionable constitutionality.

Keeping Current with Annual Registration and Renewals

Annual renewals are required by most states and include substantial reporting requirements. Given the extensive nature of state regulation and the consequences of non-compliance, nonprofit organizations cannot afford to ignore registration and renewal requirements. For example, the State of New York once sued a charitable organization for raising funds prior to registration and actually obtained a judgment ordering the charity to return all of the funds that were collected regardless of actual expenses.

Charitable Fundraising Regulations

To date, several states have filed lawsuits asking for restraining orders and penalties or have issued cease and desist orders on their own volition. States’ tolerance for avoiding the law is decreasing as more and more organizations come forward to register and appeal for public support.