Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado Secretary
of State Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Picture of Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold


Charities and Fundraisers FAQs

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Q1. Who needs to register?

A1. The following organizations and individuals must register with our office before conducting activities:

  • Any charitable organization that (1) solicits contributions in Colorado, (2) has contributions solicited in Colorado on its behalf, or (3) participates in a charitable sales promotion must register.

  • All professional fundraising consultants [1] who will have control of contributions from a solicitation on behalf of a charitable organization must register. For help on registering, you can view our how-to video for Professional Fundraising Consultant registration.

  • All paid solicitors must register. For help on registering, you can view our how-to video for Paid Solicitor registration.

Q2. When do I need to register?

A2. You must register before engaging in charitable activities or performing services in connection with solicitations.

  • Charitable organizations must file a registration statement before engaging in any solicitation campaigns or charitable sales promotions in Colorado.

  • Professional fundraising consultants must register with our office before performing any services in connection with a solicitation if they will have custody or control of contributions at any point during the solicitation.

  • Paid solicitors must register before soliciting contributions in Colorado.

Q3. Who is exempt from registering?

A3. Certain types of entities and people are exempted from the registration requirements. [2]

  • Charitable organizations that do not intend to and do not actually raise or receive gross revenue over $25,000 during a fiscal year.

    Do not include government grants and grants from tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations when calculating gross revenue. Otherwise, the gross (total) revenue means the total amount received by the organization during its annual accounting period from all sources and places before deducting any costs or expenses.

  • Charitable organizations that don’t receive contributions from more than ten persons during a fiscal year.

  • Organizations defined as churches for federal tax purposes. These include churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, church associations or conventions, an integrated auxiliary of a church, an exclusively religious activity of a religious order, a mission society sponsored by or affiliated with one or more churches or church denominations (more than one-half of the activities of the society must be conducted in or directed at foreign countries), or a school below college level affiliated with a church or operated by a religious order that is exempt from filing a federal annual information return (IRS Form 990).

    Religious organizations that file a Form 990 are not exempt and must register.

  • Political parties, candidates for federal or state office, and political action committees required to file financial information with federal or state elections commissions.

Q4. We take contributions online. Do we need to register?

A4. Yes. Any organization that is soliciting contributions online must register like any other organization, unless it is exempt from the registration requirements. [3]

A foreign (non-Colorado) entity must register (unless it is exempt) if its non-internet activities alone would require registration, and foreign entities must register if:

  • The organization has an interactive website and either targets persons in Colorado, or receives contributions on a repeated and ongoing basis or a substantial basis through its website, or

  • The organization solicits contributions through a site that is not interactive, but either specifically invites further offline activity to complete a contribution, or establishes other contacts with Colorado, such as sending e-mail messages or other communications that promote the website.

If your organization has a website, please review the charitable solicitations rules.

Q5. Our organization wants to run a silent auction. What do we need to file with you?

A5. A live or silent auction to raise funds for charity is considered a solicitation for contributions. Under the Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act, the organization would need to register as a charity (unless it is specifically exempted by the statute). The organization does not need to apply for a Bingo-Raffle license.

Q6. Do charity auctioneers need to register?

A6. See registration of charity auctioneers.

Q7. Do grant writers need to register?

A7. Grant writers are not required to register unless their compensation is based on a percentage of the grants or contributions brought in by the organization as a result of their efforts. [4]

Q8. Do coventurers need to register?

A8. No. Commercial coventurers are not required to register.

However, certain disclosures [5] are required on advertisements for a charitable sales promotion.

Q9. Do I need to register if I am only asking for funds on behalf of a specific individual or family?

A9. No. Neither the person making the appeal nor the person who will benefit from the appeal are required to register, because this is not considered a charitable activity. Rather, it is a request for a private gift. These types of donations are not tax-deductible. [6]

Q10. How do I get a copy of my Certificate of Registration?

A10. You can view and print a Certificate of Registration from the summary screen of any registered group.

To view and print a certificate:

  • Search for the group by name, Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or registration number.

  • On the Results page, click on the registration number to view the record.

  • On the Summary screen, at the bottom of the screen, click on "Certificate of Registration"

  • The certificate will open as an embedded PDF file that can be printed or saved.

  • If the PDF is not visible on the View Registration Certificate screen, look for a link to "Click here to open it in a separate window" near the top of the screen. This will open the PDF in a new window.

Q11. How can I assure Colorado consumers that I am properly registered with the Secretary of State?

A11. Our office issues a registration number to each approved charitable organization, professional fundraising consultant, or paid solicitor. You can give this number to consumers who ask for proof of your registration.

Q12. How do I file a consolidated (group) registration statement?

A12. A consolidated registration statement can be filed by a central or parent charitable organization on behalf of itself and its subordinate organizations.

The subordinate organization’s financial information must be included on the parent’s group return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In order to file a group return with the IRS, the organization is issued a group ruling. A parent organization files its own Form 990, and it may separately file a group return that includes all or some of its subordinate organizations. Since parent organizations often file two returns, a separate federal employer ID number (FEIN) is assigned by the IRS for the purpose of processing the group return. Subordinate organizations also have their own FEINs.

Any subordinate organization that is not included on the group return must separately satisfy state filing requirements using its own FEIN. It is possible that your organization will need to create two (or more) Colorado registration records with the same (or very similar) names, but with different FEINs. The FEINs will distinguish one record from the other. The first registration would be the parent organization's own registration; the second would be the consolidated (or group) registration. If there are subordinate organizations that can't be included in the consolidated registration, each one will have to register separately.

The three main points to remember are:

  • Every parent and subordinate organization that solicits in Colorado needs to register in some fashion.

  • Our website can only accommodate one registration and financial statement per FEIN.

  • The financial statement must include financial information on every subordinate organization for which the consolidated registration is filed. When in doubt, we recommend filing separately.

[1] 6-16-103(9.3), C.R.S.
[2] 6-16-104(6), C.R.S.
[3] 6-16-104(6), C.R.S.
[4] 6-16-103(7)(g), C.R.S.
[5] 6-16-110(2), C.R.S.
[6] 6-16-104(6)(d), C.R.S.