Everyday nonprofits seek to change the world on what often seems to be pennies on the dollar. Nonprofit leaders commonly think of grant money and tax-deductible donations when fundraising, but in many states being a nonprofit allows certain nonprofits to legally conduct gambling activities that would otherwise be criminalized under state law. Inadvertently violating these gambling laws can have steep consequences so if your organization is planning an event that involves some form of gambling, it pays to do it right.
Many small nonprofits without sufficient funds to hire a fundraiser on a fee for service basis view percentage based compensation as a godsend. First, percentage based compensation permits the nonprofit to gain the assistance of a professional fundraiser without any risk to the nonprofit’s bottom line. In addition, the fundraiser is likely to be more motivated if they are paid based upon the funds raised.
Forty-one U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia and many local jurisdictions require some type of registration for charities trying to solicit funds. These laws create a patchwork of largely inconsistent laws that nonprofits must contend with. To add to the confusion, the jurisdictions that require registration have different definitions and standards regarding who must register, which documents are required, whether nonprofits must renew their registrations, and which government agencies process the registrations.
As the recession deepens, we get more and more creative ideas from people wanting to conduct complex raffles. In Arizona, the most popular questions this year involve raffles of real estate. While raffles can be great revenue generators for charitable organizations, many charities do not realize that in most states, including Arizona, raffles are illegal gambling. Cautionary tales abound. Most states have specific exceptions for charitable raffles but require the charity and the raffle to meet specific criteria to qualify.