Key to Compliance: Stay Informed
Timing is everything when it comes to nonprofit solicitation. That’s why we continuously monitor changes in state laws to ensure that our clients are always current with fundraising compliance. Our services can save significant staff time, too, on state registrations and renewals, script disclosure, contracts and bonding.
Distinct Difference for Professional Fundraisers, Fundraising Consultants and Others Who Specialize in Nonprofit Solicitation
At Copilevitz, Lam & Raney, we monitor state fundraising issues closely, maintain up-to-date files on all states and use our specially-designed software to track and manage client information. And we go a step beyond in assisting fundraisers: to keep up with an increasing number of inquiries about charitable fundraising from the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service and Federal Trade Commission.
Our free monthly newsletter, the Fundraising & Nonprofit Report, outlines these and other items of interest to professional fundraisers – both nationally and at the state level. Also see our additional online resources.
Registration: An Absolute Necessity
Charitable fundraising – or any appeal for public support – is a heavily regulated industry, as several states change their charitable solicitation laws, filing requirements or forms every year. To date, 45 states require professional fundraisers to register. As a general rule, if a charitable organization has a contract with a professional fundraiser, that contract has to be filed with its registration or as soon as the contract is executed.
Solicitation notices must be filed by professional fundraisers or nonprofits so that states may be alerted to upcoming activity within their jurisdictions. Required filing of contracts containing dates of performance serves a similar function.
Registration Renewal: Also a Necessity
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.
Approximately two-thirds of states require some form of disclosure as part of fundraising appeals. Several states also require nonprofits to provide oral and/or written disclosures, whether or not they receive professional assistance. Please contact us for more information.
Many states require professional fundraisers and fundraising counsel to obtain surety bonds and submit all contracts as part of registration to ensure that funds are available to reimburse any victim of fraud or other malfeasance. Surety bonds are a form of insurance for the state to guarantee the professional fundraiser’s good behavior. For nationwide registration, this insurance is one of the most expensive aspects of the registration process.