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Reminder: Chapters, Other Nonprofits Must Register with their States

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - Oct. 6, 2003) - Did you know that registration is required by law for charities in almost every state? Is your charity registered?

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is encouraging members to see if the nonprofit they work for is registered in every state in which it conducts fundraising efforts.

'AFP and its chapters are recognized as leaders in the fundraising profession. We strive to set the highest examples for the sector, which is why AFP staff works with chapters every year to ensure they are registered,' said Peg Bergeron, AFP manager of chapter services. 'In addition, we encourage all nonprofits to register in the states where they do fundraising, even if they are exempt from registration for various reasons. Registering shows your willingness to be open and accountable to your community and donors, and signifies a strong belief in ethical fundraising and nonprofit administration.'

Under most state laws, even just a single solicitation triggers registration requirements. However, many jurisdictions have exemptions for religious-based organizations, charities with small operating budgets and others.

Most states regulate fundraising through either the office of the attorney general or secretary of state. Registration statements focus on how much the charity has raised, fundraising contracts the charity has entered into, boards of directors and other related information. Depending on the size of the charity, some states will ask for the organization's Form 990 or audited financial statements.

In many states, charities need to register initially and then continue to provide financial information every year. Unfortunately, each state's registration system is unique, and some states require information that others don't even ask for.

However, most states have now approved a Unified Registration Statement for the initial registration. The form was developed as part of the Multi-State Filer Project to consolidate the information and data requirements of all states that require registration.

Nearly all states currently accept the Unified Registration Statement, although some states continue to have different and/or additional requirements. The Standardized Registration for Nonprofit Organizations document outlines the requirements for most states. For an HTML or PDF version of the document visit The Unified Registration Statement.

In addition, nonprofits can contact their state attorneys general offices or visit the Research Links section of the AFP website for more information.

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