SB 1070, the Charitable Solicitations Act has recently passed in the Oklahoma State Senate and has now moved to the House. The bill was introduced by Sen. Susan Paddack (D-Ada), who has worked closely with the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the state’s non-profit community in an effort to draft the best possible bill for Oklahoma’s needs. The proposed legislation would modernize and improve the existing laws, which have not been updated since the 1950’s, regarding fundraising and charitable solicitations in Oklahoma.
The purpose of the legislation is to protect donors and reputable non-profit organizations, while discouraging and punishing undesirable and unethical fundraising practices. The current law uses antiquated definitions and is based on outdated fundraising practices and techniques. The vagueness and lack of clarity that exists in the current law is addressed by SB 1070. For instance, employees of charitable organizations will not be considered “professional fundraisers” and will not be required to register individually under the new bill, although it is unclear in the current law.
The entire law is being re-written to make it more succinct. One major change will be to move responsibility for the enforcement of the law from the Secretary of State’s office to the Attorney General’s office. This will allow for more ability to effectively enforce the updated standards.
The fees charged to non-profit organizations and professional fundraising consultants will increase dramatically. However, the current fees have not been increased in over 50 years. The change in fee (to $100 annually for a non-profit agency), which seems extreme if viewed as a percentage of increase (currently $15 annually), is more of a reflection of how outdated the current law really is.