September 2000 – State regulators may be giving non-profit organizations their first road map showing how online fund-raising appeals will be monitored. When charities include a request for donations on their Web sites, computer users around the world can view the appeals. That has led some non-profit officials to worry that many small, local charities would be required to file paperwork with every state that has a registration requirement, an expensive and time-consuming proposition for many organizations.

Jeffrey Even, assistant attorney general of the State of Washington and one of the authors of the proposed guidelines, says charities should breathe a sigh of relief after reading NASCO’s recommendations. “We are not saying that any Web site that exists out there that asks for money for charity automatically has to register in every jurisdiction where it can be viewed,” he says. “It takes more than that. It takes some kind of a more tangible connection to the jurisdiction to trigger that registration requirement.”

The proposal generally would require a charity or fundraiser that uses the Internet to ask for money to register in its home state, assuming the state has such a requirement. The charity or fund raiser would have to also register in another state if it solicited and received gifts through a Web site and met one of these conditions: It “specifically targets persons physically located in the state for solicitation.” It “receives contributions from the state on a repeated and ongoing basis or a substantial basis.” It sends e-mail messages to residents of the state or contacts them in other ways, specifically to promote its Web site.