What Can You Get For $1? Registration in Colorado

Nonprofits that solicit contributions in Colorado and file registration statements – as well as professional fundraising consultants and paid solicitors – will see registration fees drop to $1 for at least the next year.

The fee reductions became effective Oct. 1 and follow reductions from last year. The one-year reduction would reduce revenue by an estimated $1.1 million.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is funded through filing fees from business and nonprofits. When Secretary of State Scott Gessler got into office, there was a large reserve from years that the office had taken in more money than it spent to provide services, according to spokesman Andrew Cole. The office has a fund balance of about $4 million to $4.5 million beyond its statutory-enacted reserve, he said. The fee reduction will last at least 12 months due to a fund balance of several million dollars and will be evaluated on a quarterly basis, he said.

The previous fee was typically $10 for a charity, ranging from an annual registration renewal to amendment to a registration statement or an application for anew registration number. An application for a new registration number or an annual registration renewal for a professional fundraising consultant or paid solicitor used to be $175.

Assorted bingo and raffle licenses, ranging from $100 to $1,000, also were reduced. Only charities are allowed to run a bingo or raffle in Colorado. Cole estimated about 1,200 bingo/raffle licenses are renewed annually and between 900 and 1,000 games manager certifications in a year.

Charities make up a small fraction of the 400,000 or more business entities that file annually with the Secretary of State’s Office. There are more than 10,000 registered charities and about 10 percent of those would have been new filings within the last year, Cole said, with the rest being renewals. The largest area of revenue is from the state’s central business registry, he said. The office also regulates lobbyists and registers notary publics.