How to Become a Charity

The Charitable Organizations Division of the Secretary of State's Office administers and reviews all the Maryland Charity Campaign applications. All applications must meet the requirements of the Executive Order to be approved for participation in the Maryland Charity Campaign.
In order to be eligible for designation as a "participating agency" in the 2014 campaign, a charitable organization must have:

  • Certified full compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

  • Been operating under valid Articles of Incorporation (or other organizing instruments), and By-laws (or other governing instruments).

  • Had a current, valid 501 c(3) designation from Internal Revenue Service, and be eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions under section 170 of the IRS code.

  • Submitted a copy of IRS Form 990 for the most recently completed fiscal year; or if not required to file an IRS Form 990, a financial report form COF-85, provided by the Secretary of State, and signed and certified by its Chief Executive Officer.

  • Stated and certified the percentage of total revenue from the proceeding fiscal year that was spent on management and fundraising activities.

  • Submitted a statement demonstrating that its expenses for these purposes were reasonable under all the circumstances in its case, if the percentage of revenue spent by a charitable organization on management and fundraising under item 5 exceeded 25%.

  • Submitted a copy of the current operating budget signed and certified by the Chief Executive Officer.

  • Demonstrated that it has provided significant services to Maryland residents or those in need of such services in other countries for two years prior to January 1, 2013.

  • Provided evidence of financial support from Maryland residents within the past five years if the organization is providing services in other countries.

  • Certified that all funds from the campaign will be used solely for the provision of services to residents of Maryland, or people in other countries, including reasonable administrative costs of those programs.

  • Had a majority of its governing body serve without compensation.

  • Provided its annual financial report to the public upon request.

  • Submitted an application and proper attachments to the Secretary of State's Office by February 21, 2014.

MCC applications for the 2014 campaign will be available online in December 2013 and may be downloaded from this website. The deadline to receive applications for the 2014 MCC is February 21, 2014.  Exact deadline will be posted on the application.  Failure to comply with the filing deadline results in denial to participate in MCC.

Charitable Organizations that submit an incomplete application are sent an initial denial letter and given ten days from the date of the letter to submit the required materials. Failure to do so results in a final denial from participation in the Campaign.

Applicants approved for participation received a letter certifying their eligibility. The payroll department begins deducting funds for the 2013 MCC in January 2014. Checks for the 2013 campaign will be sent to the participating charities during the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2014, and the first quarter of 2015.