According to Legal Zoom, states usually require charities to obtain a license that registers the organization as an official charity. Licensing requirements and fees vary from state to state.
State licenses for charities protect the public from fraud when being solicited for donations. Churches, schools and certain organizations may be exempt from needing a license. For the most part, charities need a license to conduct any type of fundraising activity. In addition, states typically require charities to file detailed reports revealing financial information. For instance, states often require a tax return from charitable organizations reporting income received from charity functions.