When you’re running a fundraiser, there are a lot of things to think about – and legal issues are definitely one of them. If you’re not sure what you need to do in order to stay on the right side of the law, don’t worry because we’ve put together a list of five legal issues that you need to consider when planning your fundraiser. Keep these in mind as you get started, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that everything is taken care of!
For starters, depending on the type of fundraiser you’re running, you may need to register it with the state. This is usually the case for things like raffles or bingo, so be sure to check with your local laws to see if this is something you need to do. Don’t panic, it’s not a complicated process, and once it’s done you’ll be good to go.
Why do you need to register? Well, in some states, the government wants to make sure that all of the money raised during the fundraiser is going to a good cause. By registering your fundraiser, you’re letting them know that everything is on the up and up. If you need help with this stage, contact professional fundraising services to avoid common mistakes.
If you plan to allow alcohol or gambling at your fundraiser, you’ll need to get the proper licenses. This is usually a form that you can fill out and submit online, but again, it varies from state to state. The last thing you want is to get your nonprofit in trouble, so make sure you take care of this step well. As an example, in Florida, you need a license to have a raffle, but not if the prize is under $600.
Liability is always a big concern when hosting any type of event, and fundraisers are no different. If someone gets hurt on your property or as a result of your fundraiser, your nonprofit could be held liable. To help protect yourself, you should consider getting event insurance. Typically, this covers things like weather damage, cancellations, and injuries.
If you use a professional fundraising consultant for their expertise, you need to make sure they are reputable and have the proper licenses. For example, if you use a professional consultant, they should be properly registered in your state. Alternatively, if you choose to forgo a professional consultant, you may need to designate a staff member to fill this role and provide them with the necessary resources. Whoever runs the event needs to register and be the liaison with the local authorities.
Lastly, you may need a disclosure statement explaining to all potential donors that you followed the law and that their donation is tax-deductible. This is generally provided on a case-by-case basis by the fundraising professional you hire.
If you’re in any doubt about the legalities of running a fundraiser, it’s always best to consult with an attorney or other professional specializing in this area, such as a fundraising consultant. Taking these precautions will ensure that your fundraiser is a success and that everyone involved is protected. Good luck!