Insights

If Your Nonprofit Accepts Donations, You May Be Subject To Additional Registration Requirements

However, certain charitable organizations are exempt from registration requirements and you should check before you register

If your charitable or tax-exempt organization is doing fundraising in Florida, it likely must register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and renew the registration on an annual basis.

As the name implies, the Solicitation of Contributions Act requires anyone that intends to solicit donations or contributions from people in the state of Florida to register with the FDACS and renew annually.

This applies to charitable organizations, 501(c)(3) nonprofit entities, sponsors, professional solicitors and professional fundraising consultants. FDACS collects registration fees and has authority to impose penalties for noncompliance. It should be noted that certain charitable organizations are exempt from the FDACS registration requirements, and determination of whether such organization falls under one such exemption should be confirmed prior to the initial registration.

The intent of the Florida Legislature is to:
• Recognize the right of persons or organizations to conduct solicitation activities and
• Protect the public by requiring full public disclosure of the identity of persons who solicit contributions from the public, and of the purposes for which such contributions are solicited and the manner in which the contributions are actually used.

This Florida law places particular emphasis on the act of solicitation.

However, the FDACS has consistently imposed noncompliance penalties upon charitable organizations that have not actively solicited donations, but that have received unsolicited donations from individuals or entities outside of the organization.

For example, any charitable organization that has independent funding and does not actually solicit donations, but accepts unsolicited donations from persons outside its organization must register with the FDACS.

Directors of Florida nonprofit organizations must carefully review the Solicitation of Contributions Act or seek legal counsel before any solicitation of donations and before accepting any donations from individuals or entities outside of the organization.

For additional information regarding the registration requirements for nonprofits under Florida law or if you have questions concerning donations received by a Florida nonprofit, please contact business & corporate attorneys Jenifer Schembri at jschembri@blalockwalters.com or Yazen Dides at ydides@blalockwalters.com.

Yazen Dides

Yazen Dides
Business, Health Care and Tax Law

Jenifer S. Schembri

Jenifer S. Schembri, Esq., Florida Board Certified in Tax Law

 

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