SB 63: Exempting Common Fundraising from Bureaucratic Oversight
This bill passed with a unanimous vote through the Senate and the House.
There are a number of popular fundraising tools that allow individuals to easily and quickly raise money for friends and family in need. GoFundMe, for example, has helped individuals raise over $4 billion since 2010.
If you’ve ever raised money this way in Utah, chances are you’ve violated the law.
Current Utah law requires individuals who raise money on behalf of others to register with the state as a professional fundraiser under circumstances. In some cases, the fundraiser must provide information about the fundraising activity to the government—including the person’s name, address, identity and location of the beneficiary receiving the money, the date the fundraising began, and the purpose of the funds.
These requirements may be reduced or eliminated under Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Senator Dan Hemmert. This bill would make clear that fundraising for family members is fully exempt from registration and reporting requirements, along with any fundraising for another person provided that 1) all funds are given to the beneficiary after deducting necessary expenses; and 2) those carrying out the fundraiser are not paid for their services.
The latter provisions currently only exempt a fundraiser that is under $1,000—an unreasonable requirement since most efforts exceed this amount. This is actually a drafting oversight that Senator Hemmert intends to correct through amendment early in the legislative session.
Because almost nobody realizes this requirement exists, it is unreasonable to legally prohibit common activity in which almost all individuals are trying to help others in need. While any fundraising fraud should be investigated and punished, a blanket registration and reporting requirement is an unreasonable burden that should be repealed.