Category Archives: Charity Registration

Nonprofit Radio for July 11, 2014: Online And At Risk? & Your Board’s Role In Executive Hiring

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Diane Oates: Online And At Risk?

Diane Oates
Diane Oates

Do you accept donations online? Have a “donate now” button? Are you using crowdfunding sites? You may need to register with lots of states, not just your own. Diane Oates is an associate assistant attorney general in the Ohio AG’s Charitable Law Section and a National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) board member.df




Gene Takagi: Your Board’s Role In Executive Hiring

Gene Takagi
Gene Takagi

Gene Takagi, our legal contributor and principal of the Nonprofit & Exempt Organizations law group (NEO), walks us through this important board responsibility: hiring the executive officer. 





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“Demystifying Charity Registration” at The Foundation Center



On Tuesday, March 11, I’ll deliver Demystifying State Charity Registration Laws at The Foundation Center in New York City. We’ll go from 10am to noon.

Here’s registration info. It’s free!

These are the requirements in 49 states and DC, that you be registered with state authorities in each state where you solicit donations.

If you have a “Donate Now” button on your site you’re soliciting in at least half the states. Likewise, if you send email or US Mail solicitations or host events where someone asks for money, you’re soliciting in the states where your messages land and the events take place.

Here’s what you’ll walk away knowing:

  • how to protect your officers and board by getting into compliance
  • what these registration laws are
  • why compliance is more important now than it has been in the past
  • how to know where you need to register
  • how exemptions work
  • specifics of New York state registration
  • a plan to prioritize and get started

Along with a colleague, I delivered this a few weeks ago at The Support Center. An attendee wrote:

“Well done, useful & timely workshop. This issue is lurking below the surface and should be made better known.”

I agree. I’m working on it. 

Someone else believed the program, “Might help our clients evaluate where to focus their registrations.” Cool. I always have consultants in the audience.

I promise you’ll walk out knowing a hell of a lot more than you know now. I hope you can be with me!

Here’s registration info. It’s free for Pete’s sake. 

My slides are below.

Charity Registration Roundup

Image by jiiji, Flickr Creative Commons license
Image by jiiji, Flickr Creative Commons license

Charity Registration—the requirements that charities register with state authorities in each state where they conduct solicitations for donations—doesn’t change much, so I’ve been holding a bunch of news for a roundup. Each state has its own fee structure, timing, definition of “solicitation,” exemptions and sheath of forms (there’s some uniformity here, but also lots of variation).

These laws are a morass. Good thing they don’t change often.

Here’s what I’ve got:

Delaware will tighten registration. I always advise clients to register as a foreign corporation doing business in Delaware. Other states, too. I am quick to add that other consultants disagree with me, saying those states without charitable solicitation acts don’t require registration. The answer hinges on what is “doing business” in a state, and I believe soliciting donations is doing business (unless a state like Nebraska says otherwise).

The question will soon be moot in Delaware because a bill that has the support of the state’s nonprofit association, Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, seems likely to become law, enacting the Delaware Charitable Solicitation Act of 2013.

Really want to read it? OK.

Beyond the “foreign corporation” registration, which is not devoted to charitable work, since 1996 the state has had a statute mostly limited to fraud prevention in solicitations. That law will be replaced by the new act.

Arizona repealed registration. Last summer, Arizona eliminated registration. The secretary of state says any filing after 9/13/13 will be returned.

Unless you’re a vets organization. Then you must register with this form. That’s part of my adoration for Charity Registration: the string of laws, exemptions, exceptions, and exceptions to the exemptions. In each state.

Another person has a sense of humor with all this. I laugh at it often. I’m not alone. From @salmanj10, this 2010 tweet: “London hostage/death threat. Look for charities with long standing charity registration.”

It’s just as bad in the U.S.

New York made a small change. The Nonprofit Revitalization Act passed in December with a positive change in registration for all charities soliciting here, regardless of where you’re incorporated. The threshold for submitting an audited financial statement is $500,000 in annual gross revenue, up from $250,000.

That’s good news! I’m all for making it easier and less expensive for small- and mid-size charities.

The new law makes sweeping changes for nonprofits formed in New York around governance, conflicts of interest, financial oversight and whistleblowers. (NY attorney general’s press release)

Most of the provisions take effect this July 1. You really don’t want to read this beast. Trust me. OK, it’s your life.

United Way ED resigned. The executive director at United Way of the Virginias resigned after it came to light late last year that the organization lost its charity solicitation authority back in 2008, for failure to keep up with registration.

As much of a morass as it is, you have to keep up with Charity Registration.