Preparing to Launch

How to File Donation Solicitation Documents for Your Nonprofit

How to File Donation Solicitation Documents for Your Nonprofit

Before you start soliciting donations for your new nonprofit, you have some paperwork to do. Most nonprofits need to register for charitable solicitation. Many states require your organization to file with the state before you can ask for donations from state residents.

Also known as fundraising registration, the process licenses your nonprofit to solicit funds within certain jurisdictions. You submit paperwork to state charities bureaus, which are usually overseen by the Secretary of State or State Attorney General, depending on the location.

Why Charitable Solicitation Registration Is Important

By law, your organization must file for charitable solicitation registration. Many grant applications and other funding sources can't be completed until you have finished registration and been approved to solicit donations.

By registering, you are also being transparent about your intent. Trust is vital to the success and longevity of your organization. Donors understandably expect accountability when it comes to their money. By registering to solicit, your nonprofit shows itself to be a trustworthy charitable organization to donors.

Donation Solicitation Requirements

Nonprofits seeking funds must comply with charitable solicitation requirements, which vary from state to state. Despite the variances, there are some common requirements for registering your fundraising efforts for your nonprofit.

Charitable Solicitation Registration Statement

The charitable solicitation registration statement is your first step. This is your request to your state to be able to solicit charitable and tax-deductible contributions.

Charitable solicitation registration statements consist of a form that requires that you list your organization's:

  • Name

  • Physical address

  • Web address

  • Federal tax-exempt status

  • EIN

  • Names and addresses of executive personnel

  • Fiscal year

  • Financial information from IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ

If you haven't yet filled out Form 990, you will need to provide a good faith estimate for most of your nonprofit's recent fiscal year. You must also agree that your organization complies with the U.S. Patriot Act.

List of Officers and Directors

You will likely need to provide a complete list of your nonprofit organization's officers and directors as part of the fundraising registration.

Form 990 Nonprofit Taxes

Form 990 and Form 990-EZ are forms that many tax-exempt organizations must submit to the IRS annually. The information on this form is required by section 6033(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. This code requires all organizations exempt from taxation under section 501(a) to file an annual return. The return lists items of gross income, receipts, disbursements, and other required information.

Determination (Approval) Letter

When you file for the ability to solicit donations, you must also provide your determination letter from the IRS stating that you're approved as an exempt organization.

Filing Fee

You will have to pay a filing fee to the respective state agency or agencies when you file your charitable solicitation registration. Fees vary among jurisdictions. They are often calculated based on total gross revenue from the prior year or the number of contributions received in the jurisdiction.

How to File

Currently, many jurisdictions require paper filing of the initial and renewal charitable solicitation registration. However, some jurisdictions have switched to filing via email or fax.

Is It Necessary to File in Every State?

Yes. Regardless of how you're asking for donations — be it via your website, a charitable platform, social media, phone calls, snail mail, emails, texting, or simply asking in person — these actions are considered soliciting donations.

The internet makes asking for donations as simple as the click of a button. However, doing this poses compliance issues. Simply asking for donations is considered soliciting, and this means your organization must register in any state potential donors are located.

Currently, you must file in every jurisdiction where you wish to solicit and collect funds for your organization. In other words, if your nonprofit is in Houston, but you want to receive an online donation from someone in Milwaukee, you'll have to file in Wisconsin as well as Texas.  

The Unified Registration Statement (URS) was intended to streamline the registration process throughout the nation, but many jurisdictions still require supplemental information. That means it's still simpler to just file in each state with the specific forms available through the state government agency that regulates fundraising. You can find the state government offices handling the various jurisdictions on the National Association of State Charity Officials' website.

Can You Solicit Funds While Your Exempt Status Is Pending?

You might be able to solicit and accept donations before receiving your determination approval letter. However, most states require you to have registered prior to asking for donations. This also applies to online solicitations.

Consequences of Failing to File for Charitable Solicitation Registration

If you solicit donations before registering, the consequences can be severe. This is especially true if you fail to register after you receive funds. Here are some consequences of failing to file for charitable solicitation registration:

  • Criminal or civil action against directors and officers

  • State fines, penalties, and late fees

  • Revocation of tax-exempt status

  • Denial of the ability to solicit funds

  • Damaged relationships with donors and those disbursing grants

  • Lost grants and donations

  • Negative publicity

Though charitable solicitation registration is time-consuming, it's a necessary task that will keep your nonprofit in compliance and lead to transparency for your donors. Fundraising registration may take work, but the investment is well worth the effort.

Starting a New Nonprofit?

If you're starting a nonprofit, Swyft Filings can help. We assist with filing your nonprofit paperwork. For information about forming a nonprofit, check out our simple guide on How to Start a Nonprofit in 8 Steps. If you're ready to get started, we can help you file your nonprofit paperwork, too.

Originally published on October 24, 2022, and last edited on October 24, 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for answers? You came to the right place. To learn more about our company mission and culture, click the link below.

How much does it cost to form a Corporation or LLC?

Swyft Filings charges only $49 + state filing fees to incorporate your business. Filing fees vary from state to state. If you have a question about a specific state, feel free to email or contact us at 877-777-0450.

After completing my order, will I have to pay additional fees to your company?

No. For business filings, you paid the total price for your order at the time you placed it. 

However, if you signed up for the Swyft Filings Registered Agent Service, you will be charged for this service when the state grants your company a Certificate of Formation. This recurring fee will be automatically charged to your account for each period the service is active unless you change your Registered Agent with the State or dissolve your company.

When will my order be processed?

Orders are processed as they are received. However, clients that select Express Processing or Same Day Processing will have their orders processed before Standard Processing orders.

How long does the incorporation process take?

Incorporation times vary from state to state. Feel free to contact us by email or at 877-777-0450 for information on specific state processing times.

Swyft Blog

Everything you need to know about starting your business.

Each and every one of our customers is assigned a personal Business Specialist. You have their direct phone number and email. Have questions? Just call your personal Business Specialist. No need to wait in a pool of phone calls.

Should Artists Start an LLC?
Managing Your Business

Should Artists Start an LLC?

Your business credit score is an essential figure to estimate the creditworthiness of your business. Let us walk you through the credit scoring process.
Blog Card Image
Preparing to Launch

5 LegalZoom Alternatives for Entrepreneurs

If you’ve considered forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, or nonprofit, you’ve probably heard of LegalZoom. This service has helped entrepreneurs with business formation since 2001.
Blog Card Image
Managing Your Business

Quoi Business Duo Focuses on Accessible Sustainable Healing & Community Outreach

Your business credit score is an essential figure to estimate the creditworthiness of your business. Let us walk you through the credit scoring process.
Blog Card Image
Preparing to Launch

The Responsibilities of a Registered Agent

Naming an individual as your business’s registered agent is a necessary part of incorporating any business.
Blog Card Image
Preparing to Launch

Why Should You Start Your Own Business?

While owning a business can be one of the most rewarding (and lucrative) decisions you can make, it is always good to look at both the pros and cons of business ownership before opening a company.
Blog Card Image
Preparing to Launch

Ready to start a business? Get it right from day one.

While running a business can be a very rewarding experience, there are several essential steps that need to be taken to ensure that your company is primed for a successful launch.

Do what you love. We'll handle the paperwork.

Trusted by over 250,000 businesses since 2015. Start your business with confidence. Affordable. Fast. Simple.

Incorporate now
Dummy Switchback Image