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FAQs about Professional Fundraisers
FAQ's about Professional Fundraisers
FAQs about Professional Fundraisers
Who is considered a professional fundraiser?
A professional fundraiser is any person or entity who is retained under contract or otherwise compensated by or on behalf of a charitable organization primarily for the purpose of soliciting funds.
Professional fundraiser does not include any bona fide employee of a charitable organization who receives regular compensation and is not primarily employed for the purpose of soliciting funds. § 407.453, RSMo
I am a development director or head of fundraising for a nonprofit in Missouri, do I need to register?
No, so long as you are a bona fide employee of a charitable organization who receives regular compensation (i.e., a salary).
One or more nonprofits pay me to write grants for them, do I need to register?
Maybe, it depends on what your agreement with the nonprofit requires you to do. If you solicit funds for that nonprofit, then you meet the definition of a professional fundraiser and you need to register. If you merely edit applications that the nonprofit submits, then you do not need to register since you are not the person doing the soliciting. If you’re unsure, you can contact us.
I am a compensated consultant or fundraising counsel, do I need to register?
Missouri law does not define “fundraising consultant” or “fundraising counsel.” However, if your actions constitute solicitation of funds, then you meet the definition of a “professional fundraiser” and need to register.
What is considered solicitation of funds?
A solicitation is any request or appeal, either oral or written, or any endeavor to obtain, seek or plead for funds, property, financial assistance or other thing of value, including the promise or grant of any money or property of any kind or value for a charitable purpose. § 407.453(6), RSMo.
What is not considered solicitation of funds for registration purposes?
Missouri law creates two exceptions to what is considered a solicitation:
Direct grants or allocation of funds received or solicited from any affiliated fund-raising organization by a member agency; and
Unsolicited contributions received from any individual donor, foundation, trust, governmental agency or other source, unless such contributions are received in conjunction with a solicitation drive. § 407.453(6), RSMo
When is my registration statement due?
Prior to the solicitation of any funds within the State of Missouri. §407.466.1
Is there a fee to register as a professional fundraiser?
A $50 fee must accompany all initial registrations and all renewal statements. Amendments and updates are $25.
When must I renew my professional fundraiser registration?
Registrations are effective for a period of one-year from the date of issuance. § 407.466.1, RSMo.
I am a professional fundraiser who solicits in Missouri on behalf of two charitable organizations and I just entered into an agreement to solicit for a third charitable organization, what do I need to file?
You need to file an amendment before you solicit in Missouri for your new client.
How do I register as a professional fundraiser?
Fill out the professional fundraiser initial registration statement and submit with the $50 fee to the address on the form.
What information is required when I register?
A form is provided for initial and renewal applications in the “Forms” section above. Missouri also accepts the Unified Registration Statement (the URS).
Can I file the Unified Registration Statement (URS)?
Yes, Missouri will accept the Unified Registration Statement (URS) so long as it includes all of the information required by our form and is accompanied by the appropriate fee.
When do I need to amend or update my professional fundraiser registration?
An update or amendment is required any time a contract or agreement between the professional fundraiser and charitable organization is amended.
If my organization is registered in Missouri, do I need to register in any other state?
Yes, if you solicit in states other than Missouri you will most likely need to register in those states. Failure to do so can lead to severe adverse consequences. A few states do not require registration, but the vast majority do. You will need to contact each state in which you solicit donations to find out about how to register.
What happens if I fail to register?
If you solicit funds for charitable purposes without being registered you will violate the consumer fraud provisions contained in Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act, Chapter 407, RSMo. In short, the Missouri Attorney General’s power to pursue fraud applies to failure to register, the same as any scam, fraud, swindle, etc. The penalties can be severe since each solicitation constitutes a separate violation of Missouri law. And under Missouri law each individual violation can be punished by a civil penalty of $1000, restitution, a ban on solicitation, and other relief. Since the penalties can be harsh, we strongly encourage everyone to err on the side of registering.
Can I register online?
Not yet, but we are working on such a system.
What is an appropriate percentage for a professional fundraiser to keep?
Guidelines issued by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggest spending at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities and spend no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.
Who do I contact for additional information about professional fundraiser registration?
Donna Rodenbaugh on at 573-751-3321, via email at