Ron Barrett, of Cogency Global, on fundraising compliance for charities and non-profits

As the VP of Non Profit Services at Cogency Global, Ron Barrett knows a lot about regulatory compliance for non-profits engaged in fundraising activities. Ron is a Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultant and author of “Nonprofit Fundraising Registration: Nolo’s 50-State Digital Guide.” His specialties include Nonprofit formations & qualifications, corporate compliance, charitable solicitation registration and compliance, state income and sales tax exemption filings.

I wanted to catch up with Ron to discuss fundraising and charitable regulations — at both the state and local level — because I run a number of non-profits myself and because there are likely many non-profits out there, large and small, whose managements may not be aware of the particular requirements governing the kind of fundraising activities that they may be engaging in today, including charitable sales promotions and other non-profit/for-profit corporate partnerships. As Ron observes, many non-profits shifted their fundraising efforts to digital during the pandemic, and we discuss compliance issues that may arise from these digital campaigns and how organizations need to handle them.

Ron offers some excellent advice for non-profits considering to partner with for-profit entities on sales promotions. “A charitable sales promotion really really is about branding recognition for both the charity and the for-profit. It’s to boost sales for the for-profit; it’s to boost donations to the charity and awareness for their cause. So it’s really a win-win all the way around. But at the same time, you don’t want to be promoting a product or service that a for-profit is selling simply because they’ve engaged in a commercial co-venture agreement or charitable sales promotion with your organization.”

Ron and I cover many issues in our talk, including the misconceptions concerning registration that non-profits — both large and small — may be laboring under, specific state-based registration requirements for different kinds of fundraising activities, particular charitable sales promotions that Ron admires, his advice for non-profits as 2023 nears, and a new law – California AB488 — known as the Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act — that expands the state’s regulatory supervision of charitable fundraisers operating in the state.