Nonprofit Fundraising Registration Digital Guide

Nolo's 50-State Digital Guide

By Ronald J. Barrett and Stephen Fishman, J.D.

Updated semi-annually: January and July

Nolo’s new 50-State Digital Guide—the first of its kind—provides all the information you need to handle your nonprofit’s initial and renewal fundraising registration easily and confidently on your own. There are links to all the forms you need to complete the initial and renewal registration in any state on your own. The state-specific information includes the filing fee amounts, signatures required, proper filing address, supporting documents needed, filing deadlines, and more. The Guide also contains an overview of the registration process—the IRS’s role, exemptions from registration, online fundraising, and strategies to avoid unnecessary registrations.

This Guide will be updated semi-annually in January and July so that all the information and links will be up to date. Your annual subscription includes both updates. You can access the updated information by logging into your Nolo account.

Nonprofit Fundraising Registration Digital Guide is a joint project with COGENCY GLOBAL and Nolo.

  • Product Details
  • Raise money for your nonprofit without legal trouble!

    Your nonprofit needs financial support, which means it's likely you are dependent on the kindness of donors to fill your coffers. If you plan to solicit funds by phone, letter, email, on the web, or in any other manner, it's essential that your organization stay compliant by registering with the appropriate state charity offices.

    Unless your nonprofit is exempt or located in one of the few states that don’t require registration, you’ll always need to register in your home state. Nonprofits that engage in fundraising also need to register in every state that requires registration. Unfortunately, state fundraising registration can be a difficult and confusing process. Every state has its own rules, forms, exemptions, procedures, and deadlines. You can a hire professional firm to handle the registrations for you, however this cost can be prohibitive for smaller nonprofits. (The cost can run from $5,000 to $7,000 for registration in all 39 states. This doesn't include the state registration fees, which can be another $2,700 to $3,000.)

    If you don't want to spend that kind of money, you can register your nonprofit yourself using Nonprofit Fundraising Registration, Nolo’s 50-State Digital Guide. Nolo's new 50-State Digital Guide provides everything you need to handle registration on your own with a minimum of time and effort, including links to all the required forms, and information on filing fee amounts, signatures required, filing addresses, supporting documents required, and more. The Guide is updated semi-annually so all the information is up to date. It also has state-by-state summaries of the fundraising registration laws for every state that cover:

    • initial registration requirements
    • exemptions from registration
    • renewal registration, and
    • ongoing financial reporting requirements.

    You will also find general guidance and information on the registration process, including:

    • the IRS’s role in state registration
    • what triggers registration requirements
    • how Internet fundraising impacts registration
    • strategies to reduce the number of states in which you must register, and
    • background on the Uniform Registration Statement.

    By using this Guide, you will be able to figure out which states you’re required to register in and then click on the appropriate links to confidently and painlessly begin the registration process for any state. 

    Because state charity registration forms, fees, and rules are constantly changing, this Guide comes with an annual subscription and will be completely updated in:

    • January
    • July

    With these updates, subscribers will always have the latest state registration rules and requirements with links to current forms and up-to-date information at their fingertips. All you need to do to access the most current updated information is to log into your Nolo account on each semi-annual update date.

    Additional Technical Support FAQs

  • Subscription
  • This Guide will be updated semi-annually so that all the information and links will be up to date. Your annual subscription includes both updates. You can access the updated information by logging into your Nolo account and downloading the updated file. Be sure to download and save the PDF file to your computer to get the most user-friendly version of the product.

    Subscribers will have access to current forms and up-to-date information on state registration rules and requirements. Subscribers will be notified via e-mail to log into their Nolo accounts to access each update. 

    Updates are available:

    • January
    • July


    Additional Technical Support FAQs

  • Table of Contents
  • How to Use Nolo's Digital Guide

    Charitable Solicitation and Fundraising Registration: An Overview

    State Regulation of Nonprofit Fundraising

    • Charitable Solicitation Laws—The Basics
    • Registration Requirement
    • Exemptions From Registration
    • Annual Financial Reporting
    • Unfair and Deceptive Practice Provisions
    • Disclosure Statements
    • Rules for Professional Fundraisers, Solicitors, and Consultants

    The Fundraising Registration Process

    • Who Needs to Register?
    • Who Is Exempt From Registration?
    • Why Register?
    • When Should You Register?
    • Where Must You Register?
    • How Do You Register?
    • Formulating a Registration Plan
    • Minimizing Your Registration Requirements

    The IRS and State Registration

    • The IRS Annual Information Return
    • Form 990—Registration Questions
    • Form 990-EZ—Registration Questions
    • IRS Penalties for Filing Inaccurate Forms

    Internet Fundraising and Registration

    • Website Fundraising—What Are the Boundaries?
    • Some Guidelines to Follow—The Charleston Principles
    • Crossing State Lines by Email
    • Using Charity Portals to Receive Donations?
    • Soliciting Through Online Social Networks

    The Unified Registration Statement

    • The Unified Registration Statement
    • The URS Registration Process—Step by Step
    • How to Complete the URS

    Qualifying to Do Business Out of State

    • What Is “Qualifying to Do Business”?
    • Fundraising Registration Can Trigger Qualification Requirement
    • Intrastate Versus Interstate Business
    • The Mechanics—How You Qualify
    • What If You Fail to Qualify to Do Business?
  • Sample State
  • To see a sample State with the Initial Registration and Periodic Renewal and Reporting requirements for Alabama, Click here.


3 Reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Thank you!

By Lori S.

This has been an amazing tool for us navigating the confusing state to state process of registering as a non-profit. it's our go to guide for renewal time and setting up a calendar to help us be ahead of renewal time. This is saving us thousands in avoiding outsourcing this role.

Posted on 1/6/2021

Highly Recommended

By Elizabeth B.

If you're committed to doing it right on your own, this is the Guide for you. An excellent, well-organized comprehensive resource.

Posted on 1/25/2018

Great Purchase!!

By Alex B.

This was one of the best book purchases of my life!! This made registrations easy! I originally started the process, looking through individual state websites, and I got through 1/3 of the states in roughly 3 weeks. I found this online book, and finished all states (and D.C.) in 2 weeks. This book provides all up-to-date forms, information, and links. I would highly recommend this book to everyone in charge of fundraising information!!

Posted on 8/23/2017

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought