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Nonprofit Law/State Registration for Non Profit Fundraising


Recently it came to my attention that a 501(c)(3) organization may need to register in 39 states they may reach from online, if they have a "Donate Now" button on their web page. Is this true?  (I believe there are 11 states that don't require registration.)

Also, would this include 50/50 raffles you might have at fundraising events at convention you hold in states other than the state you normally operate outside of?

Is there a way to register for most of these states all at once, without involving an attorney, and doing so at low expense.  Our non-profit is very small, and doesn't have much of a budget at this time, but we also don't want to get into any legal trouble.

As you can read in the following article, a strict reading of the
statutes does not specifically exempt mail or internet
solicitations.  You would need to see if you are exempt from the
different states' registration requirements because of the
exceptions mentioned in their laws, which are sometimes different
depending upon the state. Most States' Attorney Generals are
following the recommendations, at least unofficially, that are in
the report of the National Association of Charity Officials
(NASCO) issued in 2001 and found at:

See as to Uniform Registration that helps to covers most states (37 of the 40 states that require registration) - some States take the standard form but also require a specific supplemental form for that particular State.
--- Start of Excerpt ---
The URS is an alternative to filing all of the respective registration forms produced by each of the cooperating states. In those states, a registering nonprofit may use either the state form or the URS. Thus, the URS proves most useful to nonprofits soliciting regionally or nationally and, therefore, subject to the registration laws of multiple states. But the URS may be used by any nonprofit that is registering in a state accepting it.

Conceptually, the process is simple. You fill out the URS by following its accompanying instructions; photocopy the completed URS (with state-specific items, including signature lines, left blank); fill in any state-specific items; execute (i.e., sign with or without notary) according to each state's requirements; collect and attach the specified governance (for initial filings) and other documents; write a check for the prescribed registration fee (if any); and mail the package, covered by the URS, to the respective state's administering agency
---End of Excerpt---

Raffles are covered not only by the charitable solicitation regulations referred to above but also by other state laws and registration requirements, specifically for raffles.
has the listing of the citations to the relevant state laws
Registrations must be done with each state where the raffle laws apply.  There is no way to register for more than one state at a time.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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