Charitable Solicitation Requirements are Changing in ME
By Willette Elder, business law attorney
On August 1, 2014, the State of ME will eliminate its requirement under the Charitable Solicitations Act that all fundraising consultants, known as “professional fundraising counsel,” must be licensed by the ME Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. This includes any person or entity that is paid by a charitable organization to plan, manage, advise or provide consulting services related to charitable solicitation in ME. Although the registration and licensing requirement for consultants is being eliminated, the change in the law provides a good opportunity for those involved with charitable organizations to review the other often-neglected requirements of the Charitable Solicitations Act (Title 9 M.R.S.A. §§ 5001 – 5018).
First, regardless of whether the organization has a principal place of business in ME, all charitable organizations that are not specifically exempted are required to become licensed in order to solicit charitable contributions in ME. This includes any entity that is organized or operated for any charitable purpose and (1) makes any oral or written request for any contribution, directly or indirectly, to potential donors in ME or (2) accepts or obtains contributions from donors in ME for any charitable purpose.
Second, any person or entity who, alone or through its employees or agents, solicits contributions from any ME resident on behalf of any charitable organization for a fee or other form of payment must be licensed by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation as a “professional solicitor,” with some narrow exceptions. This requirement applies whether or not the charitable organization is in ME.
The August 1 change to the Charitable Solicitations Act only affects professional fundraising consultants. Therefore, please remember that the other requirements of the Act affecting charitable organizations and professional solicitors are still applicable. Registration is simple in most cases, and forms can be found on the ME Professional and Financial Regulation webpage.
For more information, please contact Willette Elder at 207 228-7301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.