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Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Soliciting for Charity

Many practitioners find themselves volunteering for a nonprofit organization as either a board member or volunteer counsel. Raising money for charity is tricky business, whether the effort is confined to Minnesota or expanded to other states. Beware that most behaviors targeted at raising money are considered “solicitations” under Minn. Stat. Chap. 309. Most other states’ statutes are similarly worded, since this statute is based on a model act. If in doubt, it’s safest to assume that a fund-raising activity is solicitation, wherever it’s being done, and laws apply. Don’t fall in the trap of “forgetting” to register the nonprofit entity to solicit. In all but ten states, a nonprofit must register with the State Attorney General’s Office or Secretary of State’s Office when solicitations exceed $25,000 (and other narrow exceptions do not apply). While this means you may need to register in most states where funds are being raised, of the states that require registration, most will accept the Uniform Registration Statement (URS), which can be completed once and filed in multiple states. Only three states that require registration—Colorado, Oklahoma, and Florida—do not accept the URS, which can be obtained online at www.multistatefiling.org.  A knowing failure to register is a misdemeanor.

Jennifer L. Urban

Urban Law Group, PLLC

Minneapolis

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