Charitable Solicitation Licensure:
Consumer Protection in the Wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma 

Recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have ramped up charitable activities to provide urgent aid to areas hit hardest by the storms.  The American Red Cross is currently earmarking funds raised to bring critical supplies, food, shelter, and comfort to victims of the storms. [1]  Charities across the country are responding with overwhelming amounts of support for these regions.  If you are looking to make a donation to a relief organization, it is important to understand that your contribution is going to a reputable, licensed charitable organization.  CNN.com recently reported on ways to avoid charity scams in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. [2] CNN.com reports that FBI data shows more than 4,600 websites advertising hurricane relief efforts have surfaced and law enforcement suspects that many of these newly created sites are fraudulent. [2]  If you are setting up a charitable organization or branching out your charitable activities into new states, you must understand and comply with each state’s licensure and registration requirements. 

Charitable fundraising activities are governed by state law and many states require charitable non-profits and professional fundraisers to register with the state prior to engaging in any solicitation for donations.  In order to hold non-profit organizations accountable and to protect the public interest, the majority of states have enacted Charitable Solicitation Acts.  Currently, forty states require registration.  As a consumer protection mechanism, the Attorneys General of most states broadly define charitable solicitation and enforce the rules of law aggressively.  Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman has sponsored a website, Stop Fraud Colorado.gov, urging consumers to do due diligence before contributing to a charity soliciting funds for hurricane victims.  Attorney General Coffman directs contributors to “ask for detailed information about the organization including name, address, telephone number, licensing information, and percentage of your donation that will go to the charity.” [3]

Bottom line is know before you donate.  Ensure that the charities you donate to are appropriately licensed.  LicenseLogix offers a wide range of license compliance tools.  Our Vendor Verification Service  allows for quick and affordable license confirmations. 

If you operate a charity, let LicenseLogix explore the ways we can assist to ensure you are complaint.  Our Industry Knowledge , coupled with our compliance tools, offers full service license assistance to our charitable and non-profit organization clients.