Charitable nonprofits frequently think they need to register to solicit donations in all 50 states. Fortunately, not all states require this. The number of states that do require charitable solicitation registration varies in some circumstances (e.g., depending on the type of organization) and sometimes you’ll find conflicting information when searching for the exact states where this is required. In this post, we’ll clarify which states require charitable solicitation registration, along with a few notable exceptions, for most charities. Keep in mind though, that registering to solicit is not the same as filing for a business license or qualifying to transact business in a state (i.e. qualify as a foreign nonprofit by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority to Transact Business). 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 (See our previous blog post “What Types of Registrations are Needed When a Nonprofit is Fundraising in Multiple States?”).
States That Require Charitable Solicitation Registration and Renewal
Currently, 37 states and D.C. broadly require charitable solicitation registration and renewal, unless a specific exemption applies. Exemptions vary greatly in each state, but most exempt religious organizations (e.g. churches and synagogue) and many exempt educational institutions (e.g. colleges and universities) and hospitals. However, there are frequently exceptions to the exemptions, and thus, a careful reading of each state’s requirements is needed.
States That Do NOT Require Charitable Solicitation Registration
There are 9 states that do not require charitable registration: Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Vermont & Wyoming. 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 solictiging money or other support in the state. Finally, Louisiana only requires registration if a charity engages paid, professional solicitors to fundraise in their state, while Missouri exempts 501c3, 501c7 and 501c8 organizations, upon application.
In summary, to comply with state charitable solicitation laws, a 501c3 charity that is not a law enforcement, public safety or veterans organization and that does not use the services of a professional solicitor and that is not otherwise in an exempt category, is required to register in 37 states and D.C., and to file a one-time exemption in Missouri.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered, or relied upon, as legal advice.