Professional Solicitor FAQs

What is a professional solicitor?

"Professional solicitor" means any person who, for a financial or other consideration, solicits contributions for, or on behalf of, a charitable organization, whether such solicitation is performed personally or through such person's agents, servants or employees or through agents, servants or employees specially employed by or for a charitable organization, who are engaged in the solicitation of contributions under the direction of such person, or a person who plans, conducts, manages, carries on or advises a charitable organization in connection with the solicitation of contributions.  Any independent marketing agent or entity to whom a professional solicitor assigns fund raising or solicitation responsibilities shall be deemed to be a professional solicitor for purposes of this part.  A salaried officer or permanent employee of a charitable organization is not deemed to be a professional solicitor.  However, any salaried officer or employee of a charitable organization that engages in the solicitation of contributions for compensation in any manner for more than one (1) charitable organization is deemed a professional solicitor.  A professional solicitor does not include an attorney, investment counselor, or banker who in the conduct of such person's profession advises a client.  See T.C.A. §48-101-501(7).

What is a professional fundraising counsel?

"Professional fund raising counsel" means any person who, for compensation, plans, manages, advises, consults or prepares material for a charitable organization for the solicitation of contributions in this state, but who does not solicit contributions and does not employ, procure, or engage any person to solicit contributions on behalf of a charitable organization. "Professional fund raising counsel" does not include an attorney, investment counselor, bona fide salaried officer, employee, volunteer, or banker who in the conduct of such person's profession advises a client.  See T.C.A. §48-101-501(6).

What is a commercial co-venturer?

A commercial co-venturer is any person who is organized for profit; is regularly and primarily engaged in trade or commerce, other than in connection with soliciting for charitable or civic organizations or charitable purposes; and conducts an advertised charitable sales promotion for a specific limited period of time.  The charitable organization being promoted by the co-venturer must be duly registered or be exempt from registration with the Division of Charitable Solicitations.  Commercial co-venturers are required to have a written agreement with the charitable organization on whose behalf the sales promotion is to be conducted.  Such co-venturers are also required to keep all records in connection with the charitable sales promotion for no less than three (3) years after the end date of the promotion.

Is a Professional Solicitor required to make any disclosures when soliciting?

Yes, a professional solicitor shall, prior to orally requesting a contribution and at the same time a written request for a contribution is made, clearly and conspicuously disclose at the point of solicitation the solicitor’s name as on file with the Division of Charitable Solicitation and Gaming and that the solicitation is being conducted by a “paid solicitor”.  In the case of a solicitation campaign conducted orally, professional solicitors are required to send written confirmation to each person who has contributed or pledged to contribute within five (5) days after that person has been solicited.  The written confirmation shall include the above disclosure.

May a Professional Solicitor sell tickets to a fundraising event for a charity?

Yes, however, in the case of events to which tickets are being donated to a charitable organization, the professional solicitor is responsible for attaining a written commitment from the charitable organization stating that they will accept donated tickets and specifying the number of tickets they are willing to accept.  No more contributions for donated tickets than will be accepted may be solicited by the professional solicitor.