States generally following the guidelines of the federal government when defining professional fundraisers, however some have tweaked the definitions to match their unique requirements.
Professional fundraiser is too large a category from some states to institute their professional licensing and regulatory requirements. Generally, the states have subdivided the professionals into three sub-groupings:
1. Fundraising Counsel: a person or group that plans, manages, and advises organizations on fundraising activities for a contracted compensation. They may have specialities such as direct marketing, web search engine marketing, printing advertising, etc.; however, they are merely consultants and do not directly interact with potential donors.
2. Professional Solicitor: a person or group that makes direct solicitations, regardless of access medium, to potential donors for a contracted compensation.
3. Commercial Co-Venturer (CCV): a for-profit organization that runs a campaign to benefit your nonprofit, contractually agreeing to donate a portion of its sales of a their product or service for a designated length of time. Think cause marketing.
It’s important to be able to distinguish these different roles among your service providers and their state licensing and regulatory requirements to ensure your organization doesn’t get entangled in a state enforcement action and bad faith with donors.