Unlike Indiana, most states require that non-profit organizations register with an agency such as the Attorney General's office before soliciting any charitable donations within the boundaries of that state. In addition to initial registration, those states typically have annual reporting requirements as well. Although Indiana is not one of the 40 states requiring registration, non-profits located in Indiana that solicit contributions outside the state cannot ignore the requirements.
The primary purpose of registration is to protect citizens from potential scams put on by fraudulent charities. To that end, some states, such as Illinois, provide an online index of registered non-profit organizations and encourage their residents to "investigate" before they make any donations. If a non-profit is not listed there, it is likely that a potential donor will decide not to make a contribution.
Because Indiana does not currently require non-profit registration, some non-profit organizations located in Indiana may be unaware of the registration requirements in other states. However, all four states that surround Indiana -- Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio -- require this type of registration for non-profits engaging in fundraising within their borders.
States that require registration insist non-profits register BEFORE conducting any fundraising efforts in their jurisdiction. If your nonprofit organization is not currently registered but has been soliciting charitable donations within a state that requires registration, you should take immediate steps to get in compliance.
To learn more information about which states require registration and how to get registered in a particular state, please check out the Unified Registration Statement (URS). The URS is an effort by the National Association of State Charities Officials and the National Association of Attorneys General to standardize registration applications. Currently, the URS is accepted by 37 of the 40 states requiring registration.
For information about creating or operating a non-profit organization in Indiana, you may contact the Business Law Department of the Smith Rayl Law Office, LLC located in Fishers, Indiana.
Michael Smith, Attorney at Law
Emily Angel, Legal Assistant