Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 57. Religious and Charitable Matters; Cemeteries
Chapter 5. Solicitation of Contributions

§ 57-48. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Board" means the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

"Charitable organization" means any person that is or holds itself out to be organized or operated for any charitable purpose, or any person that solicits or obtains contributions solicited from the public. "Charitable organization" does not include (i) any church or convention or association of churches, primarily operated for nonsecular purposes and no part of the net income of which inures to the direct benefit of any individual; (ii) any political party as defined in § 24.2-101 or any political campaign committee or political action committee or other political committee required by state or federal law to file a report or statement of contributions and expenditures; or (iii) any authorized individual who solicits, by authority of such organization, solely on behalf of a registered or exempt charitable organization or on behalf of an organization excluded from the definition of charitable organization.

"Charitable purpose" means any charitable, benevolent, humane, philanthropic, patriotic, or eleemosynary purpose and the purposes of influencing legislation or influencing the actions of any public official or instigating, prosecuting, or intervening in litigation.

"Charitable sales promotion" means advertised sales that feature the names of both the commercial co-venturer and the charitable or civic organization and that state that the purchase or use of the goods, services, entertainment, or any other thing of value that the commercial co-venturer normally sells will benefit the charitable or civic organization or its purposes. To qualify as a charitable sales promotion, the consumer must pay the same price for the thing of value as the commercial co-venturer usually charges without the charitable sales promotion and the consumer retains the thing of value.

"Civic organization" means any local service club, veterans post, fraternal society or association, volunteer fire or rescue group, or local civic league or association of 10 or more persons not organized for profit but operated exclusively for educational or charitable purposes as defined in this section, including the promotion of community welfare, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, recreational, or social welfare purposes.

"Commercial co-venturer" means any person who (i) is organized for profit, (ii) is regularly and primarily engaged in trade or commerce, other than in connection with soliciting for charitable or civic organizations or charitable purposes, and (iii) conducts an advertised charitable sales promotion for a specified limited period of time.

"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services or a member of his staff to whom he may delegate his duties under this chapter.

"Contribution" means any gift, bequest, devise, or other grant of any money, credit, financial assistance, or property of any kind or value, including the promise to contribute, except payments by the membership of an organization for membership fees, dues, fines, or assessments, or for services rendered to individual members, and except money, credit, financial assistance, or property received from any governmental authority. "Contribution" does not include any donation of blood or any gift made pursuant to Article 2 (§ 32.1-291.1 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 32.1.

"Department" means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

"Federated fund-raising organization" means any federation of independent charitable organizations that have voluntarily joined together, including but not limited to a United Fund or Community Chest, for purposes of raising and distributing money for and among themselves and where membership does not confer operating authority and control of the individual agencies upon the federated group organization.

"File with the Commissioner" means depositing the originals of the documents required to be filed, along with the payment of the appropriate fee and all supporting documents with the Department or submitting the required documents and any appropriate attachments and fees by utilizing an online filing system approved by the Commissioner.

"Fund-raising expenses" means the expenses of all activities that constitute or are an integral and inseparable part of a solicitation.

"Membership" means those persons to whom, for payment of fees, dues, assessments, etc., an organization provides services and confers a bona fide right, privilege, professional standing, honor, or other direct benefit, in addition to the right to vote, elect officers, or hold offices. "Membership" does not include those persons who are granted a membership upon making a contribution as the result of solicitation.

"Parent organization" means that part of a charitable organization that coordinates, supervises, or exercises control over policy, fund raising, and expenditures or assists or advises one or more chapters, branches, or affiliates.

"Person" means any individual, organization, trust, foundation, association, partnership, corporation, society, or other group or combination acting as a unit.

"Professional fund-raising counsel" means any person who for a flat fixed fee under a written agreement plans, conducts, manages, carries on, advises, or acts as a consultant, whether directly or indirectly, in connection with soliciting contributions for, or on behalf of, any charitable or civic organization, but who actually solicits no contributions as a part of such services. A bona fide salaried officer or employee of a registered or exempt charitable organization or the bona fide salaried officer or employee of a registered parent organization shall not be deemed to be a professional fund-raising counsel.

"Professional solicitor" means any person who, for a financial or other consideration, solicits contributions for, or on behalf of, a charitable or civic organization, whether such solicitation is performed personally or through his agents, servants, or employees or through agents, servants, or employees who are specially employed by or for a charitable or civic organization and are engaged in the solicitation of contributions under the direction of such person or any person who, for a financial or other consideration, plans, conducts, manages, carries on, advises, or acts as a consultant to a charitable or civic organization in connection with the solicitation of contributions but does not qualify as a professional fund-raising counsel. A bona fide salaried officer or employee of a registered or exempt charitable organization or a bona fide salaried officer or employee of a registered parent organization shall not be deemed to be a professional solicitor.

"Sale," "sell," and "sold" mean the transfer of any property or the rendition of any service to any person in exchange for consideration, including any purported contribution without which such property would not have been transferred or such services would not have been rendered.

"Solicit" and "solicitation" mean the request or appeal, directly or indirectly, for any contribution on the plea or representation that such contribution will be used for a charitable purpose, including, without limitation, the following methods of requesting such contribution:

1. Any oral or written request;

2. Any announcement to the press, over the radio or television, by telephone or telegraph, or by email concerning an appeal or campaign to which the public is requested to make a contribution for any charitable purpose connected therewith;

3. The distribution, circulation, posting, or publishing of any handbill, written advertisement, or other publication that directly or by implication seeks to obtain public support; or

4. The sale of, offer, or attempt to sell, any advertisement, advertising space, subscription, ticket, or any service or tangible item in connection with which any appeal is made for any charitable purpose or where the name of any charitable or civic organization is used or referred to in any such appeal as an inducement or reason for making any such sale, or when or where in connection with any such sale, any statement is made that the whole or any part of the proceeds from any such sale will be donated to any charitable purpose.

"Solicitation," as defined in this section, shall be deemed to occur when the request is made, at the place the request is received, whether or not the person making the same actually receives any contribution.

"Terrorists and terrorist organizations" means any person, organization, group, or conspiracy who assists or has assisted terrorist organizations, as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 2339B, or who commits or attempts to commit acts of terrorism, as defined in § 18.2-46.4.

1974, c. 574; 1979, cc. 124, 595, 598; 1983, c. 374; 1984, c. 268; 1988, c. 322; 1990, c. 711; 1996, c. 461; 2003, cc. 576, 977, 1009; 2005, c. 329; 2007, cc. 92, 907; 2013, c. 24; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 465; 2023, c. 289.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.