Posted on October 4, 2023
Colorado Charitable Registration: How to Register Your Nonprofit to Legally Solicit Funds
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Colorado charitable registration: Are you planning to fundraise in Colorado to support your nonprofit organization’s mission and programs? If so, there is a specific process to follow. Engaging in fundraising activities in Colorado is guided by some specific rules and regulations, as stipulated in Colorado Title 6, Article 16.
Registering your nonprofit to solicit funds can be an intimidating process, especially if it’s your first time doing so. However, knowing what steps you should take can make this process significantly easier. This resource is for organizations that have already organized and filed Articles of Incorporation in their state of domicile. If you still need to start the process of incorporation, please refer to this article on incorporation and state forms.
Whether you’re fundraising for the first time or want to know more about the annual renewal process, this guide will help you navigate the process of registering your nonprofit for fundraising in Colorado.
In the State of Colorado, nonprofits must maintain a corporate registration in addition to a charity registration. The state calls the corporate registration filing the “Statement of Foreign Entity Authority”. This is required both for domestic nonprofits based in Colorado, and foreign nonprofits operating outside of the state but soliciting Colorado residents.
To set up your corporate filing, you must go to the Colorado Secretary of State website where you can go through the process of filing as a foreign or domestic nonprofit corporation. As a prerequisite to the corporate filing you’ll need to identify a resident registered agent — for nonprofits not based in Colorado, you’ll likely need to obtain and pay for a registered agent provider (prices vary from $99-350 per year).
The CO charities program doesn’t audit to ensure your corporate registration is current, but it’s a state requirement. Therefore, it’s important to maintain nonetheless. For more information on how to complete your initial corporate registration, contact Affinity Fundraising Registration.
Register with the Colorado Secretary of State
Once you’ve completed the corporate registration, and assuming you’ve already established your nonprofit and achieved tax-exempt status with the IRS, you’ll need to register with Colorado’s Secretary of State charities program before you can legally solicit funds. Colorado has an online-only registration process. The first step is to create your account. Once you have done so, you can file a registration statement which must be digitally signed by an officer of the organization and include the following:
- The name of the charitable organization, the purpose for which it is organized, and the name or names under which it intends to solicit contributions.
- The address and telephone number of the principal place of business of the charitable organization and the address and telephone number of any offices in Colorado, or, if the charitable organization does not maintain an office in the state, the name, address, and telephone number of the person that has custody of its financial records.
- The names of the officers, directors, trustees, and executive personnel of the charitable organization.
- The last day of the organization’s fiscal year.
- The place and date when the organization was legally established, the form of its organization, and its tax-exempt status.
- A financial report for the most recent fiscal year along with a copy of federal form 990, with all schedules except schedules of donors, for the most recent fiscal year.
- The names and addresses of any paid solicitors, professional fundraising consultants, and commercial co-venturers who are acting or have agreed to act on behalf of the charitable organization.
After entering all of your data, you must submit your information form and pay the $10 registration fee online. Within a few business days, you will receive an email from Colorado confirming that your registration is complete and giving you your next due date for filing the renewal registration.
A Note on Financial Transparency
Nonprofits need to be prepared to provide explicit financial information including copies of their financial statements upon request. Additionally, all solicitations, either direct or indirect, must disclose the nonprofit’s name, location, tax-exempt status, and a clear description of the charitable program for which the solicitation campaign is being carried out.
There are some instances in which a nonprofit may be considered exempt from charity registration in Colorado. Those exemptions include:
- You receive less than $25,000 in contributions per year.
- You solicit less than 10 people per year.
- You are not required to file a 990 with the IRS.
If you meet any of these requirements, then you will be statutorily exempt from registration and are not required to take any action with the state.
Annual Fundraising Registration Renewal
To keep a nonprofit in good standing, Colorado law mandates that fundraising registration must be renewed annually. This can be done entirely online through the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. Step-by-step instructions are provided, although the entire process can still be time-consuming.
All renewal registrations are due 4 ½ months after the organization’s fiscal year-end. To initiate the renewal process, an organization must submit a statement accompanied by the required fee. The annual registration renewal fee is $10 unless you are working with a professional fundraising consultant or paid solicitor. Visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website for a full list of current fees.
The renewal statement should include any changes in the organization’s structure, along with changes pertaining to addresses, contact information, leadership, or operations. In addition to the renewal statement and fee, charities in Colorado are also required to file an annual financial report. If your organization has contracted with an external paid solicitor, you must also submit a solicitation notice and solicitation campaign financial report. Failure to renew registration means a nonprofit may no longer be in good standing and could face fines and penalties. More importantly, an organization may lose its credibility, thereby negatively impacting fundraising efforts.
Corporate Registration Renewals
As part of the nonprofit registration renewal process, you must also renew your corporate registration, also called the Statement of Foreign Entity Authority in Colorado. To do this, you’ll need to file a Periodic Report on the anniversary month of your initial certificate issuance and pay the $10 fee.
Extensions and Late Fees
Colorado provides two 90-day fundraising registration extensions. They automatically grant an initial 3-month extension as part of your registration acceptance, and it is included in your initial due date. A second extension may be requested by logging in to your
Colorado account and choosing “File An Extension” from the list of options. Once you have entered an explanation for the request and signed the extension, it will automatically be granted.
If you have not renewed your registration within 60 days past the final due date, the State of Colorado will impose a $60 late fee. Your registration will be suspended and you will be prohibited from fundraising until you have filed and paid the mandatory fee.
Monitoring Changes in Regulations
The Colorado Secretary of State’s office occasionally updates registration laws and it’s crucial for your nonprofit to stay informed about these changes to stay compliant. Understanding and following the regulations provided by Colorado Title 6 Article 16, is vital for the lawful running of your nonprofit organization. Avoidance or ignorance of these requirements can result in penalties, revocation of tax-exempt status, and loss of donor trust, so it’s imperative to comply and conduct your operations ethically and legally.
Need Help With Fundraising Registration?
Colorado charitable solicitation registration can be complicated and time consuming. Keeping up with current legislation, filing the appropriate documents, and tracking fee payments can be a significant drain on resources, even if you’re only soliciting funds in Colorado. Many nonprofits, additionally, expand their efforts across multiple states so the intricacies involved in managing fundraising registration requirements can quickly become overwhelming.
Whether you’re looking for helpful information and tools to simplify charity fundraising compliance or are interested in partnering with a fundraising registration expert who can reduce the administrative burden involved with achieving and maintaining compliance, Affinity Fundraising Registration can help.
Visit the Affinity Fundraising Registration resources page for resources related to state-specific fundraising registration or contact us to learn more about our fundraising registration support services. Regardless of your charity’s type, size, or location, we can help you gain and maintain fundraising compliance in Colorado, and in any state across the U.S.!
The information provided on this page is intended purely for educational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information up until the published date. However, laws related to fundraising registration are subject to change, and variations may occur between states. Furthermore, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws can often be complex, and the specifics of your situation can impact how the law applies.
Affinity Fundraising Registration is not a law firm and, as such, cannot provide legal opinions. For all specific legal questions or concerns, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified attorney who is experienced in nonprofit law and compliance. Hiring a legal professional ensures that your organization is fully aware of its obligations under the law and can act accordingly to remain compliant.
By using this site, you acknowledge that Affinity Fundraising Registration holds no liability for any consequences, legal or otherwise, resulting from actions taken based on the information provided on this page.