Posted on May 8, 2024

What You Need to Know About Multi-State Registration for Charitable Solicitations

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Multi-state registration refers to the legal obligation that nonprofits have to register in different states before they can solicit donations from residents of those states. This regulation requires charities to disclose necessary information about their operations and to conduct their solicitations in a fair and honest manner. 

If you have a nonprofit that wishes to expand its fundraising efforts across multiple states, you’ll need to be prepared to file for and maintain registration in each of the states that require it. However, the process is rarely straightforward and often comes with unique complexities that require a strategic assessment for expansion.

Keep reading to learn more about state solicitation registration or contact Affinity Fundraising Registration for customizable registration support services designed to help make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

Determining Which States Require Registration

If your nonprofit is planning to solicit donations in multiple states, one of the first steps is to determine which states will require registration. Since states often have differing methods, fees, and timelines for registration, it’s important to get acquainted with the requirements of each state so you can plan and prepare accordingly. 

There are currently 38 states plus the District of Columbia that require charitable solicitation registration. Many states offer online filing (which may potentially expedite the process), however, it can also make tracking reporting requirements more challenging. 

For a full list of the states, along with their required filing method, feel free to refer to this charitable registration state map.

Consider How Much Time It Will Take to Register Before You Begin Solicitation

Did you know that it’s the solicitation, not the donation, that triggers the requirement for fundraising registration? In other words, if you ask for donations in January but don’t actually receive any until March, you’ll be in noncompliance in the interim, and could be subject to paying a fine by waiting to register until after receiving that first donation. Keep in mind that it’s not as simple as just having your registration form and supporting documents submitted or postmarked by a certain date, some states require your registration first be approved before solicitation can legally begin.

If your nonprofit is planning a fundraising campaign, it’s important to plan far enough ahead to ensure you’re registered in all states where you’ll be soliciting before the solicitation request is sent out. You’ll also want to take into account who will be managing the registration and how that plays into your timeline. 

If your organization chooses to file in-house, it will demand a significant amount of staff time. The process involves thorough research on the requirements of each state, filling out numerous applications, and assembling and sending all necessary paperwork. The amount of time consumed in this process intensifies with the increase in states you intend to register in. Additionally, if errors or missing information are found in any of the applications, they may have to be sent back for refiling, causing further delays. Therefore, if you choose the self-registration route, you will want to give yourself plenty of time to complete the process. Many organizations dealing with multiple state registrations may find it more cost and time-effective to outsource this task to a firm that specializes in charitable registrations.

Keeping Up With Changes in State Laws

With each state having different filing processes and documentation requirements, managing multi-state registration can be complex. You can read through the individual state fundraising statutes to find the current laws governing fundraising, but be forewarned this will likely become a time-consuming and tedious task. Unless you are one of the few who has a background in or enjoys reading through legislative text, it may be beneficial to enlist the assistance of a registration provider who can plan, implement, and manage your registration process across multiple states. It’s of course possible to manage it on your own, but as your reach expands across more states it will become increasingly challenging to manage the nuanced requirements without additional support.

Interested in learning more about what has changed recently in the fundraising registration arena? Check out our article on Fundraising Registration in 2024: What Changed Over the Last Year?

What Is the Unified Registration Statement and Can It Help With Multi-State Registration?

The Unified Registration Statement is a consolidation effort that was initiated over 10 years ago by the National Association of State Charities Officials and the National Association of Attorneys General. It was designed to help ease the burden of having to register in multiple states, however, it has not been maintained as states change their registration requirements and therefore the Unified Registration Statement is no longer useful. 

The unfortunate reality is that there is currently no standardized registration system to facilitate the multi-state registration process. However, if you still wish to manage registration in-house, there are useful tools available that can make the process much easier. For example, the Affinity Single Portal®  is an online platform that enables nonprofits of all sizes to register for state charitable solicitation successfully, efficiently, and affordably. It includes detailed instructions and one-click generation of applications and reports, plus it tracks deadlines and provides on-demand status reports. 

Navigate the Multi-State Registration Process With Ease

Charitable solicitation registration in multiple states is undeniably intricate, involving a multitude of state-specific forms and documentation requirements, precise record-keeping, and a thorough knowledge of current state statutes. That’s why investing in a professional fundraising registration service can be a smart way to free up resources and ensure compliance.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Affinity Fundraising Registration can help – regardless of whether you choose to outsource your registration responsibilities or keep them in-house – we encourage you to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to provide you with a personalized estimate and answer any questions you may have. 

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