Charity status reminder

The Registrar General today warned the public that it is illegal to solicit money for charitable causes if not a registered charity.

Aubrey Pennyman said it was an offence for anyone, other than a registered charity or person acting on behalf of a charity, to solicit or receive a donation for any charitable purpose.

Mr Pennyman added that online sites for fundraising for a charitable or benevolent purposes in Bermuda may also require a temporary fundraising license or charitable status.

He said: “In Bermuda our residents are very supportive of charitable causes.

“However, the public should be aware that our office frequently receives requests from prospective donors, businesses, banks and event venues to confirm if an organisation is a registered charity.

“The Charities Act 2014 states that it is an offence for a person, other than a registered charity or person acting on behalf of such charity, to solicit members of the public for or receive from any member of the public in any public place, a donation for any charitable purpose or for any professed purpose which is otherwise benevolent.

“The exception is a person who has been issued a temporary fundraising licence by the Registrar General.

“Persons who do not wish to obtain a temporary fundraising license may enlist the assistance of a registered charity to engage in public fundraising on their behalf.

“We wish to remind the public that if the need arises we encourage organisations or individuals to apply for a temporary fundraising license.

“We have forms available at our office, which should be returned with supporting documentation and clearly stating the purpose for which funds will be raised.

“Once granted, the licenses are valid for a period of three months, which can be extended upon request for an additional three months.

“A revenue and expenses report must be submitted to the Registrar in relation to the fundraising activities within two months after the expiration of the license.”

Mr Pennyman added that potential donors should ask for a charity’s registration number before making donations or check the Registry General website or contact the Registry General to confirm if the charity is a registered charity.

For more information contact the Registry General at 297-7739 or visit their office in Government Administration Building, 30 Parliament Street, Hamilton.

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