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Regulated Charitable Solicitation

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If you are a New Jersey charitable nonprofit, and you are engaged in any fundraising activities, you are subject to the state’s regulated approach to charitable solicitation.

What does that mean?  

New Jersey, like most other states, enacted the 1994 Charitable Registration and Investigation Act in order to manage and regulate fundraising initiatives conducted by nonprofits. Also covered by the Act are all independent professional fundraisers, fundraising counsels, commercial co-ventures and solicitors who conduct business within the state of New Jersey.

How do we comply?

If your nonprofit raises more than $10,000 gross in contributions during the fiscal year or compensates a third party for their fundraising services, you are required to adhere to these regulations:

  • Prior to engaging in charitable solicitation, you must register with the Charities Registration and Investigation Section
  • Within six months after the end of your fiscal year you must file an annual report of your fundraising activities
  • Sales promotions and other solicitations must be separately registered and reported
  • This special language regarding compliance must appear on every written solicitation or pledge reminder: “Information filed with the attorney general concerning this charitable solicitation and the percentage of contributions received by the charity during the last reporting period that were dedicated to the charitable purpose may be obtained from the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey by calling 973-504-6215 or on line at http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/charfrm.htm. Registration with the Attorney General does not imply endorsement.”
  • Enter into written contracts with independent professional fundraisers, fundraising counsels and commercial co-venturers

Is there anything else I need to know to be compliant?

To be sure that you do not inadvertently create a problem for your organization, keep in mind the definition of solicitation activity, which for this purpose means, “Special evets fundraising, letter writing, phone calls, website language asking for donations, cookie or merchandise sales and similar fundraising activities.The list is extensive, so be sure to refer to all the different activities that are depicted as ‘fundraising’ for the purpose of charitable registration.

Could we be exempt from registering?

There are certain situations where a nonprofit is exempt from registering. These are educational institutions, libraries and religious organizations that meet specific requirements as well as organizations that have not raised more than the $10,000 thresh hold for gross contributions in their most recent fiscal year without compensating a third party for fundraising efforts on their behalf.

Depending on the amount of gross contributions raised, the organization must complete a short or a long form registration the first time through the process, but after that they can simply file a renewal registration statement. Other criteria apply for organizations raising more than $500,000 in gross revenue.)

Where do we file our registration? Is there a cost?

The Charities Registration and Investigation Section asks that charitable organizations attempt to file initial and renewal forms on line at

www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/charities/Pages/charities-registration-information.aspx

Alternatively, the nonprofit can download the forms*, complete the information and mail them to:

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
Charities Registration and Investigation Section
P O Box 45021
Newark, NJ 07101

*The forms can be downloaded from the site at:

www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/charities/Pages/charities-registration-forms.aspx

There are different fees for short and long form filers, so be sure to check the site for NJ Consumer Affairs.

Do you have any final suggestion for complying?

It is essential for nonprofits toconsider that every charitable organization that is engaged in solicitation activity (as defined above under fundraising) in new Jersey must register with the Charities Registration and Investigation Section unless they ae exempt. If they solicitation activity in multiple states, they need to register in all states that require it and they must do so after their Certificate of Incorporation is filed with the New jersey Division of Revenue. To confirm that your organization is included in the Directory of Registered Charities, visit the site at:

https://njconsumeraffairs.state.nj.us/public-charity-search-results

To be completely sure you are in compliance, check with your trusted advisors!

Foe more information please contact Tara DelGavio at tara.delgavio@sobelcollc.com