Charitable Organizations

What is a Charitable Organization?

"Charitable organization" means:

A person that engages in or purports to engage in solicitation for a charitable purpose and includes a chapter, branch, area office, or similar affiliate or a person soliciting contributions within the state for a parent charitable organization. The registration of a charitable organization grants the right to hire a professional fundraiser until September 1 of that year.

If a charitable organization is unsure whether it must register with our office, the organization should discuss the laws with its legal advisor.

The term "charitable organization" does not include:

  1. An organization that solicits funds for an institution of higher learning.
  2. An organization that uses only volunteer unpaid fundraisers and that solicits funds for a political subdivision or other government entity or for a civic or community project in which the contributions received are used solely for the project and none of the contributions inure to the benefit of any individual.
  3. A private or public elementary or secondary school.
  4. A charitable organization or person that solicits contributions for any person specified by name at the time of the solicitation if all the contributions received are transferred within a reasonable time after receipt to the person named or that person's parent, guardian, or conservator with no restriction on their expenditure and with no deduction.
  5. A religious society or organization that is exempt from filing a federal annual information return pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 6033(a)(2)(A)(i) and (iii)[26 U.S.C. 6033(a)(2)(A)(i) and (iii)] and Internal Revenue Code section 6033(a)(2)(C)(i)[26 U.S.C. 6033(a)(2)(C)(i)]
  6. Any candidate for national, state, or local elective office or political party or other committee required to file information with the Federal Election Commission, a state election commission, or an equivalent office or agency.

How to Become a Registered Charitable Organization

In order to register the following must be completed:

  1. The applicant must have its entity registered with the Secretary of State. (e.g. corporation must have articles of incorporation filed if a domestic or a certificate of authority filed if a foreign corporation, if an unincorporated organization a trade name must be registered, etc) Click here to learn about entity registration.
  2. A Charitable Organization Registration Statement.
  3. The appropriate filing fee of $25.00 made payable to the Secretary of State. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are also accepted.

Charitable Organizations Fees

  • Charitable Organization Registration - $25
  • Charitable Organization Annual Report - $10


Forms to submit filings and update information are now available on FirstStop, the Secretary of State’s new online filing system.