Charleston Principles

The Charleston Principles are a regulatory framework adopted by the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) on March 14, 2001. The Charleston Principles provide guidelines on charitable solicitation over the internet and in part aim to provide guidance on whether state registrations are required for nonprofits that only solicit through the internet. Not all states follow the Charleston principles so it is likely that even if you only have a “Donate Here” button on your website, that you will need to register in at least a few states. Below is a table of states with charitable solicitation requirement showing whether they follow The Charleston Principles. There is more complexity than can be provided in table form and the information changes frequently. If you’d like a free consultation to discuss whether registration is required and in which states, please call us at 844-863-0915 or email us at info@labyrinthinc.com

Alabama Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT follow Charleston Principles If the nonprofit has a website that has a donate button or even mentions donations accepted, registration is required.
Alaska Follows Charleston Principles – Principle III(B)(1): An entity that is not domiciled within a state must register in accordance with the law of that state if:
a. Its non-Internet activities alone would be sufficient to require registration;
b. (1) The entity solicits contributions through an interactive Web site; and
(2) Either the entity:
i. Specifically targets persons physically located in the state for solicitation, or
ii. Receives contributions from the state on a repeated and ongoing basis or a substantial basis through its Web site; or
c. (1) The entity 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 that state, such as sending e-mail messages or other communications that promote the Web site; and
(2) The entity satisfies Principle III(B)(1)(b)(2).”
Arkansas Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles
California Registration required only if the organization is actively doing business in CA/purposefully soliciting CA residents. If passive website [listing info on directory site, maintenance of site specifically for out of state org, etc.] NOT required to register; If active site (advertises/targets/sends email to CA residents on regular basis], MUST register. [if org sends info in response to donor’s request for info, then considered interactive site)
Colorado Follows Charleston Principles. 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: a) The organization has an interactive website and either targets persons in Colorado, or receives contributions on a repeated and ongoing basis (50 or more in a fiscal year) or a substantial basis ($25,000 or 1% of total contributions, whichever is less, in online contributions in a fiscal year) through its website, or b) 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.
Connecticut Follows Charleston Principles
Florida Has not adopted the Charleston Principles. Looks at nonprofits on a case by case study. If it is a national organization and it appears they intend to reach Florida residents, then registration is required. If they use a solicitor or counsel and it appears they will target Florida residents, then they are required to register.
Georgia Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles
Hawaii Follows Charleston Principles
Illinois Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles . If any donations are from Illinois, registration is required.
Kansas Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles. Unsolicited donations will not trigger registration requirement, but acknowledgement and follow-up requests do.
Kentucky Follows Charleston Principles
Louisiana Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles
Maine Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles. If an organization has the potential to receive contributions from Maine and they do not meet one of our exemptions as defined in our statute, then they would need to be licensed. Definition from statute reads: “Solicit and solicitation” means any oral or written request, however communicated directly or indirectly, for any contribution. “Solicitation” as defined herein shall be deemed to have taken place when the request is made, whether or not the person making the solicitation receives any contribution in response.”
Maryland Follows Charleston Principles as a reference point/guide but hasn’t explicitly adopted them
Massachusetts Follows Charleston Principles
Michigan Takes Charleston Principles into consideration but hasn’t officially adopted them. If the organization’s internet presence doesn’t specifically target Michigan donors and the organization does not have any other substantial links to Michigan, registration is not required.
Minnesota Doesn’t explicitly follow the Charleston Principles but takes them into account – decided on case by case basis
Mississippi Follows Charleston Principles
Missouri Does NOT explicitly follow the Charleston Principles BUT policy for requiring registration is similar
Nevada Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles
New Hampshire Doesn’t explicitly follow Charleston Principles – if NH donor looking for organization to give funds to, comes across organization’s website, NOT considered solicitation BUT if organization directs its solicitations in any way at NH residents, then is considered solicitation, organization must register
New Jersey Follows Charleston Principles
New Mexico Follows Charleston Principles
New York Same requirements as for regular registration. Online solicitation is judged on a case by case basis.
North Carolina Follows Charleston Principles
North Dakota Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles. They usually tell people to read a copy of the law as it pertains to charities and then to make their own determination as to whether or not they need a charity license. If nonprofit has a donate button or invites further offline activity to make a donation, the state will require registration.
Ohio Although not codified, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office does refer to the Charleston Principles when making registration determinations. The answer to all three of your questions is likely that registration is not required as long as Ohioans are not being specifically targeted and the organizations aren’t located in Ohio. However, each organization and case is different and a case-by-case analysis may be required.
Oklahoma Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles
Oregon Follows Charleston Principles
Pennsylvania Follows Charleston Principles
Rhode Island Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles [if no firewall and RI resident donates via website, organization must register]
South Carolina Doesn’t explicitly follow Charleston Principles, but practice in determining jurisdiction to register appears to be the same as what is suggested in the Charleston Principles
Tennessee Follows Charleston Principles. Considers 100 online contributions or $25,000 in online contributions in a fiscal year as sufficient volume to establish the regular or significant.
Utah Does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles – must register if information is sent into UT to direct residents to make donations. An interactive website, or one that directs those interested in donating to another site or gives an address for offline donations, is considered to be soliciting and therefore should register.
Virginia Follows Charleston Principles [though hasn’t explicitly adopted]
Washington Follows Charleston Principles
West Virginia Follows Charleston Principles
Wisconsin Follows Charleston Principles
DC Same requirements as for regular registration – does NOT currently follow Charleston Principles