A Guide for Inspired Fundraisers

Many people are not aware that soliciting money and gifts for a charitable purpose creates a "charitable trust," requiring the fundraiser as the trustee to register with the Attorney General's Office. Registration is required by law to assure an accounting of all funds raised.

If you have raised donations and need to register, use the Initial Registration Checklist on the Forms page of this website or call the Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts at (916) 210-6400.

If you would like to raise funds to aid Hurricane Katrina victims but want to avoid having to register as a charitable trustee, here are some steps you can take:

  • Work through an established charity. You will need to contact the established charity and receive permission to raise funds on its behalf. Accounting for the funds raised by you and other volunteers on its behalf would then be done by the charity as part of its annual filing with IRS and the Attorney General's Office.
  • Get placed on an established charity's "authorized third-party fundraiser" list, if it has one. Being listed would be evidence that you are acting as a "volunteer" and not a "trustee."
  • Have donors make checks payable to the charitable organization, rather than in cash.
  • Research the charity on whose behalf you raise funds. You want to be sure the charity will use wisely the funds you raise on its behalf. To check out a charity, you can use the Attorney General's searchable database on this website or the Better Business Bureau's WiseGiving Alliance at www.give.org.