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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 496
SOLICITATION OF FUNDS
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F.S. 496.404
496.404 Definitions.As used in ss. 496.401-496.424, the term:
(1) “Charitable organization” means a person who is or holds herself or himself out to be established for any benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, scientific, artistic, patriotic, social welfare or advocacy, public health, environmental conservation, civic, or other eleemosynary purpose, or a person who in any manner employs a charitable appeal as the basis for any solicitation or an appeal that suggests that there is a charitable purpose to any solicitation. The term includes a chapter, branch, area office, or similar affiliate soliciting contributions within the state for a charitable organization that has its principal place of business outside the state.
(2) “Charitable purpose” means a benevolent, philanthropic, patriotic, educational, humane, scientific, artistic, public health, social welfare or advocacy, environmental conservation, civic, or other eleemosynary objective.
(3) “Charitable sales promotion” means an advertising or sales campaign conducted by a commercial co-venturer which represents that the purchase or use of goods or services offered by the commercial co-venturer benefits a charitable organization. The provision of advertising services to a charitable organization does not, in itself, constitute a charitable sales promotion.
(4) “Commercial co-venturer” means a person who, for profit, regularly and primarily is engaged in trade or commerce other than in connection with solicitation of contributions and who conducts a charitable sales promotion or a sponsor sales promotion.
(5) “Contribution” means the promise, pledge, or grant of money or property, financial assistance, or any other thing of value in response to a solicitation. The term includes, in the case of a charitable organization or sponsor offering goods and services to the public, the difference between the direct cost of the goods and services to the charitable organization or sponsor and the price at which the charitable organization or sponsor or a person acting on behalf of the charitable organization or sponsor resells those goods or services to the public. The term does not include:
(a) Bona fide fees, dues, or assessments paid by members if membership is not conferred solely as consideration for making a contribution in response to a solicitation;
(b) Funds obtained by a charitable organization or sponsor pursuant to government grants or contracts;
(c) Funds obtained as an allocation from a United Way organization that is duly registered with the department; or
(d) Funds received from an organization duly registered with the department that is exempt from federal income taxation under s. 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and described in s. 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(6) “Crisis” means an event that garners widespread national or global media coverage due to an actual or perceived threat of harm to an individual, a group, or a community.
(7) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(8) “Disaster” means a natural, technological, or civil event, including, but not limited to, an explosion, chemical spill, earthquake, tsunami, landslide, volcanic activity, avalanche, wildfire, tornado, hurricane, drought, or flood, which affects one or more countries and causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to result in:
(a) An official declaration of a state of emergency; or
(b) An official request for international assistance.
(9) “Division” means the Division of Consumer Services of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(10) “Educational institutions” means those institutions and organizations described in s. 212.08(7)(cc)8.a. The term includes private nonprofit organizations, the purpose of which is to raise funds for schools teaching grades kindergarten through grade 12, colleges, and universities, including a nonprofit newspaper of free or paid circulation primarily on university or college campuses which holds a current exemption from federal income tax under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an educational television network or system established pursuant to s. 1001.26, and a nonprofit television or radio station that is a part of such network or system and that holds a current exemption from federal income tax under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The term also includes a nonprofit educational cable consortium that holds a current exemption from federal income tax under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the primary purpose of which is the delivery of educational and instructional cable television programming and the members of which are composed exclusively of educational organizations that hold a valid consumer certificate of exemption and that are either an educational institution as defined in this subsection or qualified as a nonprofit organization pursuant to s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(11) “Emergency service employee” means an employee who is a firefighter, as defined in s. 633.102, or ambulance driver, emergency medical technician, or paramedic, as defined in s. 401.23.
(12) “Federated fundraising organization” means a federation of independent charitable organizations that have voluntarily joined together, including, but not limited to, a united way or community chest, for purposes of raising and distributing contributions for and among themselves and where membership does not confer operating authority and control of the individual organization upon the federated group organization.
(13) “Fundraising costs” means those costs incurred in inducing others to make contributions to a charitable organization or sponsor for which the contributors will receive no direct economic benefit. Fundraising costs include, but are not limited to, salaries, rent, acquiring and obtaining mailing lists, printing, mailing, and all direct and indirect costs of soliciting, as well as the cost of unsolicited merchandise sent to encourage contributions.
(14) “Law enforcement officer” means a person who is elected, appointed, or employed by a municipality or the state or a political subdivision thereof and:
(a) Who is vested with authority to bear arms and make arrests and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime or the enforcement of the criminal, traffic, or highway laws of the state; or
(b) Whose responsibility includes supervision, protection, care, custody, or control of inmates within a correctional institution.
(15) “Management and general costs” means all such costs of a charitable organization or sponsor which are not identifiable with a single program or fundraising activity but which are indispensable to the conduct of such programs and activities and the charitable organization or sponsor’s existence.
(16) “Membership” means the relationship of a person to an organization which entitles her or him to the privileges, professional standing, honors, or other direct benefit of the organization in addition to the right to vote, elect officers, and hold office in the organization.
(17) “Owner” means a person who has a direct or indirect interest in a professional fundraising consultant or professional solicitor.
(18) “Parent organization” means that part of a charitable organization or sponsor which coordinates, supervises, or exercises control over policy, fundraising, and expenditures or assists or advises one or more of the organization’s chapters, branches, or affiliates in this state.
(19) “Person” means an individual, organization, trust, foundation, group, association, entity, partnership, corporation, or society or any combination thereof.
(20) “Professional fundraising consultant” means a person who is retained by a charitable organization or sponsor for a fixed fee or rate under a written agreement to plan, manage, conduct, carry on, advise, consult, or prepare material for a solicitation of contributions in this state but who does not solicit contributions or employ, procure, or engage any compensated person to solicit contributions and who does not at any time have custody or control of contributions. A bona fide volunteer or bona fide employee or salaried officer of a charitable organization or sponsor maintaining a permanent establishment in this state is not a professional fundraising consultant. An attorney, investment counselor, or banker who advises an individual, corporation, or association to make a charitable contribution is not a professional fundraising consultant as the result of such advice.
(21) “Professional solicitor” means a person who, for compensation, performs for a charitable organization or sponsor a service in connection with which contributions are or will be solicited in, or from a location in, this state by the compensated person or by a person it employs, procures, or otherwise engages, directly or indirectly, to solicit contributions, or a person who plans, conducts, manages, carries on, advises, consults, directly or indirectly, in connection with the solicitation of contributions for or on behalf of a charitable organization or sponsor but who does not qualify as a professional fundraising consultant. A bona fide volunteer or bona fide employee or salaried officer of a charitable organization or sponsor maintaining a permanent establishment in this state is not a professional solicitor. An attorney, investment counselor, or banker who advises an individual, corporation, or association to make a charitable contribution is not a professional solicitor as the result of such advice.
(22) “Program service costs” means all expenses incurred primarily to accomplish the charitable organization or sponsor’s stated purposes. The term does not include fundraising costs.
(23) “Religious institution” means a church, ecclesiastical or denominational organization, or established physical place for worship in this state at which nonprofit religious services and activities are regularly conducted and carried on and includes those bona fide religious groups that do not maintain specific places of worship. The term also includes a separate group or corporation that forms an integral part of a religious institution that is exempt from federal income tax under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that is not primarily supported by funds solicited outside its own membership or congregation.
(24) “Solicitation” means a request, directly or indirectly, for money, property, financial assistance, or any other thing of value on the plea or representation that such money, property, financial assistance, or other thing of value or a portion of it will be used for a charitable or sponsor purpose or will benefit a charitable organization or sponsor. The term includes, but is not limited to, the following methods of requesting or securing the promise, pledge, or grant of money, property, financial assistance, or any other thing of value:
(a) Making any oral or written request;
(b) Making any announcement to the press, on radio or television, by telephone or telegraph, or by any other communication device concerning an appeal or campaign by or for any charitable organization or sponsor or for any charitable or sponsor purpose;
(c) Distributing, circulating, posting, or publishing any handbill, written advertisement, or other publication that directly or by implication seeks to obtain any contribution; or
(d) Selling or offering or attempting to sell any advertisement, advertising space, book, card, coupon, chance, device, magazine, membership, merchandise, subscription, sponsorship, flower, admission, ticket, food, or other service or tangible good, item, or thing of value, or any right of any description in connection with which any appeal is made for any charitable organization or sponsor or charitable or sponsor purpose, or when the name of any charitable organization or sponsor is used or referred to in any such appeal as an inducement or reason for making the sale or when, in connection with the sale or offer or attempt to sell, any statement is made that all or part of the proceeds from the sale will be used for any charitable or sponsor purpose or will benefit any charitable organization or sponsor.

A solicitation is considered as having taken place regardless of whether the person making the solicitation receives any contribution. A solicitation does not occur when a person applies for a grant or an award to the government or to an organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under s. 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and described in s. 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and is duly registered with the department.

(25) “Sponsor” means a group or person who is or holds herself or himself out to be soliciting contributions by the use of a name that implies that the group or person is in any way affiliated with or organized for the benefit of emergency service employees or law enforcement officers and the group or person is not a charitable organization. The term includes a chapter, branch, or affiliate that has its principal place of business outside the state if such chapter, branch, or affiliate solicits or holds itself out to be soliciting contributions in this state.
(26) “Sponsor purpose” means a program or endeavor performed to benefit emergency service employees or law enforcement officers.
(27) “Sponsor sales promotion” means an advertising or sales campaign conducted by a commercial co-venturer who represents that the purchase or use of goods or services offered by the commercial co-venturer will be used for a sponsor purpose or donated to a sponsor. The provision of advertising services to a sponsor does not, in itself, constitute a sponsor sales promotion.
History.ss. 4, 26, ch. 91-208; s. 1, ch. 93-174; ss. 1, 19, ch. 94-287; s. 558, ch. 97-103; s. 3, ch. 98-299; s. 1, ch. 99-307; s. 8, ch. 2000-228; s. 44, ch. 2002-295; s. 60, ch. 2003-1; s. 1, ch. 2012-133; s. 145, ch. 2013-183; s. 5, ch. 2014-39; s. 5, ch. 2014-122.