When a nonprofit is doing any kind of fundraising in Chicago (or the state of Illinois), there are certain regulations that it must follow. One of those is registering with the Illinois Attorney General’s Charitable Trust and Solicitations Bureau.
An organization that does not register can face sanctions such as penalties and fines. Registration is required whether the organization is based in the state of Illinois or out of state.
But in some cases, registration is not required. Here, we’ll discuss the exemptions for some nonprofits.
There are some instances where registration may not be required. In Chicago, these include:
- Religious organizations. However, the organization must file two forms with the Attorney General.
- Illinois Form CO-3, Religious Organization Exemption Formand Form CO-1
- Charitable Organization Registration Statement
Both of these forms are available to download from the Illinois Attorney General website.
- Educational institutions and libraries
- Membership organizations that only do fundraising within their membership. This can include groups such as:
- Alumni organizations
- Historical societies
- Fundraising appeals made for single individuals, as long as the proceeds are turned over to the individual beneficiary
- Veterans organizations that are chartered or incorporated under federal law (as well as their affiliates) are exempt, as long as they file all required financial reports.
- United Way Agencies—Any charitable organization receiving an allocation from a duly registered incorporated community chest or united fund is exempt, provided it does not receive contributions of $4,000 or more from other sources during any 12-month period ending June 30th of every year.
- Other organizations that are also exempt if their fundraising is done only by the membership:
- Volunteer firefighters, auxiliary groups, and affiliates
- Local parent/teacher organizations (PTAs)
- Boys clubs that are affiliated with the parent Boy’s Club of American organization
- Nonprofits operating a nursery for babies waiting for adoption
Beginning in January of 2020, new registration requirements became mandatory for nonprofit lobbyists, which includes registration. Lobbyists who are seeking to influence legislation or other administrative actions are required to register if they are paid or receive other compensation for their work on behalf of an organization. They must also register if this lobbying is part of their normal job duties, regardless of pay and/or compensation.
Lobbyists must register within five days of commencing any lobbying activities. The fee for registration is $350. The lobbyist must also file quarterly reports, including individuals met during the course of business and any expenses incurred.
Exceptions to this rule are lobbyists who:
- Undertake nonpartisan analysis, study, and research
- Provide technical advice or assistance
- Examine or discuss broad social, economic, or similar problems on behalf of a nonprofit organization
- Lobbyists who testify in front of the City Council or any other city agency or organization
A nonprofit attorney can offer guidance for lobbyists who are unsure if they need to register, as well as other advice to nonprofits for whom registration may not be required.
Let Provenza Law Can Help Your Nonprofit With Any Legal Matter
We have over 20 years of experience working with helping major nonprofits in and around the Chicago area. We have comprehensive knowledge of Illinois nonprofit law as well as best practices for growing nonprofits. Attorney James C. Provenza can help with everything from bylaws, mission, chargers, and other organizational documents to tax exemptions and compliance are properly prepared and submitted. Contact our office at (847) 729-3939 today, or use our online contact form. We look forward to helping ensure that your organization is successful.