Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ > Fundraising by Charities FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions


Answers

Can a charity pay someone to conduct charitable gaming?
No. No one can be paid to conduct charitable gaming or bingo. Please consult Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2915 and the Ohio Attorney General’s Policy 201 for more information.

Can a person who is under 18 years of age sell and purchase raffle tickets?
According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.11(A), a person who is under 18 may sell raffle tickets as long as that person is not selling raffle tickets at the site of the raffle. No statute explicitly prohibits a person under 18 years of age from purchasing tickets for a raffle. Also, no statute prohibits the sale of raffle tickets to a person under 18 years of age, as long as the raffle itself is permissible under Ohio law. For a more detailed explanation specific to public schools, please see Ohio Attorney General Opinion No. 2004-042 (PDF).

Can I have liquor at my fundraising event? If so, how do I get a permit?
Check with the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control, to determine whether you qualify for a temporary liquor permit and which type of permit you need. Also review the Ohio Attorney General’s Liquor Permit Guide for Charities to understand the implications of signing a liquor permit application.

Can I keep 100 percent of the net profit of a raffle?
If a 501(c)(3) organization conducts the raffle, 100 percent of the net profit from the raffle can go to the organization. If a 501(c)(4), (c)(7), (c)(8), (c)(10), or (c)(19) conducts the raffle, the organization must distribute at least 50 percent of the net profit to a charitable purpose described in Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.01(v) or to a department or agency of the federal government, the state, or any political subdivision.

Can I raffle a specific item, such as a gun, a car, alcohol, or a house?
Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2915 is silent as to what types of items may be raffled. However, other laws involving the specific item you want to raffle may apply, so you may need to seek information from other organizations. For example, if you want to raffle a gun, you may want to contact the Ohio Field Offices of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. If you want to raffle a car, you may want to contact your local title office. If you want to raffle alcohol, you may want to contact the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control. If you are considering raffling a house, there are many issues to consider, such as ensuring the organization has a clear title to the home. Because each situation is different, contact private legal counsel regarding your specific circumstance.

Can my charity fundraise by holding a bake sale, T-shirt sale, or spaghetti dinner?
Generally, yes. All of these fundraising examples are considered solicitations and are governed by Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 1716. As long as your fundraiser is conducted in accordance with ORC Chapter 1716, it is permissible under Ohio’s charitable organizations law. If your proposed activity includes charitable gaming, please consult ORC Chapter 2915 and the Ohio Attorney General ’s Policy 201. Contact your local health department about restrictions on the sale of food.

Do I need a license to conduct a raffle?
Only some organizations are eligible to conduct raffles under Ohio law, but an eligible organization does not need a license to conduct a raffle. Nevertheless, raffles must be conducted in compliance with Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 2915. Raffles are defined in ORC Section 2915.01(CC) and their conduct is described in ORC 2915.092. 

Do I need to keep records if my charity conducts a raffle?
Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.10, all organizations conducting raffles have recordkeeping requirements related to expenses and prizes. These records must be kept at least three years.

My charity wants to hold a fundraiser. What types of charitable gaming can we conduct? Can we hold a poker tournament, Monte Carlo night, or night at the races?
Please consult Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2915 and private legal counsel to determine if your proposed activity is allowed by law. This chapter also outlines specific limitations on locations and frequency for certain activities. You also can review the Ohio Attorney General’s Policy 201 for information on games of chance.

My organization is a veteran or fraternal group. Do special fundraising rules apply to us?
Possibly. In some circumstances, Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 2915 establishes different rules for 501(c)(3) organizations and other types of 501(c) organizations, including 501(c)(4), (c)(7), (c)(8), (c)(10), and (c)(19) organizations. For example, for bingo and raffles, veteran or fraternal organizations must devote a certain percentage of the proceeds to a 501(C)(3) organization. Please consult ORC Chapter 2915 and private legal counsel to determine what rules apply to your specific organization and fundraising event.

Who can conduct a raffle?
Only some organizations may conduct raffles in Ohio: a charitable organization, a public school, a chartered nonpublic school, a community school, or a veteran's organization, fraternal organization, or sporting organization that is also a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(7), 501(c)(8), 501(c)(10), or 501(c)(19) tax-exempt organization.