Bermuda’s Registrar General issued an advisory today, reminding the public that it is illegal to solicit money for charitable causes if you are not a registered charity, acting on behalf of a registered charity or have a temporary fundraising license.

In a statement released this afternoon, the Registrar General, Aubrey Pennyman stated that his office “frequently receives requests from prospective donors, businesses, banks and event venues to confirm if an organization is a registered charity”.

Registrar General Aubrey Pennyman

He noted that in Bermuda, residents tend to be “very supportive of charitable causes”. But he said the Charities Act 2014 clearly states that “it is an offence for a person, other than a registered charity or person acting on behalf of such charity, to solicit members of the public for or receive from any member of the public in any public place, a donation for any charitable purpose or for any professed purpose which is otherwise benevolent”.

“The exception is a person who has been issued a temporary fundraising license by the Registrar General. Persons who do not wish to obtain a temporary fundraising license may enlist the assistance of a registered charity to engage in public fundraising on their behalf,” said Mr Pennyman.

“Internet or online sites for fundraising for a charitable or benevolent purposes in Bermuda may also require a temporary fundraising license or charitable status.

“We wish to remind the public that if the need arises we encourage organizations or individuals to apply for temporary fundraising license. We have forms available at our office, which should be returned with supporting documentation and clearly stating the purpose for which funds will be raised. Once granted, the licenses are valid for a period of three months, which can be extended upon request for an additional three months. A revenue and expenses report must be submitted to the Registrar in relation to the fundraising activities within two months after the expiration of the license.”

Potential donors were urged to “always request the Charity’s registration number prior to making donations and checking the Registry General website or contacting the Registry General to confirm if the charity is a registered Charity in good standing”.

For more information, contact the Registry General at 297-7739 or visit their office in the Government Administration Building, located at 30 Parliament Street in Hamilton.