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Which States Require Charitable Solicitation Registration for Nonprofits?

By: Ron Barrett, COGENCY GLOBAL on Thu, May 16, 2024

What this is: Charitable nonprofits frequently think they need to register to solicit donations in all 50 states. We’ve got some good news for you: Fortunately, not all states require this. 

What this means: The number of states that do require charitable solicitation registration varies in some circumstances, usually depending on the type of organization and sometimes you’ll find conflicting information when searching for the exact states where this is required. Let’s clarify which states require charitable solicitation registration for most charities, along with a few notable exceptions. Be sure to reference our map to see charitable solicitation requirements by state. 

Which States Require Header Image

States That Require Charitable Solicitation Registration and Renewal 

Currently, 36 states and Washington, DC broadly require charitable solicitation registration and renewal, unless a specific exemption applies. Exemptions vary greatly in each state, but most exempt religious organizations, like churches and synagogues, and many exempt hospitals and educational institutions (e.g. colleges and universities). 

However, there are frequently exceptions to the exemptions and thus a careful reading of each state’s requirements is needed. If you work with a house of worship or education/healthcare‑oriented organization, our complimentary CREW platform can help you navigate through each state’s requirements. 


Which States Do Not Require Nonprofits to Register? 

While many states in the US require charitable solicitation registration for nonprofits, there are 10 states where this registration is not required unless specific conditions apply, which include:

  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming

logo-cogency-color-1Would you like to read more about building a foundation for your mission? Start with our Nonprofit Services Resource Center.

States With Limited Registration Requirements 

There are a few states that only require charitable solicitation registration if a nonprofit is engaged in specific activities or seeks assistance from professional fundraisers. For example, Texas has limited registration requirements that are only applicable to law enforcement, public safety and veterans organizations. Arizona requires charitable veterans organizations to register if they are soliciting money or other support in the state. Louisiana only requires registration if a charity engages paid, professional solicitors to fundraise in their state, while Missouri exempts 501(c)(3), 501(c)(7) and 501(c)(8) organizations, upon application. 

Charitable Registration is NOT Qualification to Do Business 

Keep in mind that registering to solicit in a state is not the same as filing for a business license or qualifying to transact business in a state. With few exceptions, this is not required when a charity’s only nexus or connection with a state is fundraising via phone, email, direct mail or online. 

The Takeaway 

To sum it up as neatly as possible, if a 501(c)(3) charity soliciting nationwide is not a law enforcement, public safety or veterans organization, does not use the services of a professional solicitor and is not otherwise in an exempt category, that nonprofit would be required to register in 36 states and DC and file a one-time exemption in Missouri. 

Not sure how to handle charitable solicitation registration in those 36 states? The good news is that you don't have to go it alone. Put our expertise to work for you. 

FAQs About Nonprofits

Does a nonprofit require a registered agent in every state where it's registered for charitable solicitation?

Fortunately, most states do not require a registered agent in order for a nonprofit to solicit donations. In those states where a registered agent is required for charities, don’t confuse it with the statutory requirements for registered agent for business entities. There are separate and distinct registered agent obligations for nonprofits. For more, visit our article, Top 10 Charitable Solicitation Registration FAQs From Nonprofits.

What is an example of a data protection regulation? 

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): The CCPA is a California state law that provides California residents with specific rights regarding their personal information, including the right to know what personal information businesses collect about them, request deletion of that information and opt out of the sale of their data. To read more on this topic, head on over to Nonprofit CRMs: How to Navigate Data Privacy and Compliance. 

Why is using the Unified Registration Statement (URS) in Georgia advised against? 

Georgia requires several additional state forms to be filed with the URS, such that it doesn’t make sense to use the URS. Also, Georgia is notorious for rejecting URS filings repeatedly and holds filers of this form to a very high standard. Detailed and precise answers are required for all of the questions on the URS when filing in Georgia. This is not the case in most states, where a minimal amount of information will be accepted when answering the questions on the URS. If you’d like to learn more on this topic, read our article, Why New Charitable Registration Filers Should Not Blindly Use the URS. 

This content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered, or relied upon, as legal advice.

Topics: Nonprofit Registration and Compliance, Charitable Solicitation Registration, Nonprofit