Thank you for the April 12 editorial titled, “Charities finally get a break,” commending the state Legislature for passing bills that will allow the voters in November 2014 to vote on amending the state Constitution to decriminalize raffles held by nonprofits for charitable purposes.
Countless nonprofits, schools, civic clubs and even churches across South Carolina conduct raffles on a routine basis, despite the illegality of those raffles.
Enforcement is haphazard, exposing unknowing citizens attempting to do good to substantial embarrassment and wasting nonprofit dollars when raffles must be cancelled, at the least, and, at worst, penalties and criminal charges should law enforcement officials follow the laws on the books.
The S.C. Association of Nonprofit Organizations (SCANPO), the “chamber of commerce” for our state’s thousands of nonprofit organizations, worked closely with legislative staff to draft the “compromise bills” that Sen. Ray Cleary of Georgetown championed in the Senate and Rep. Jim Merrill helped pushed through the House.
We especially want to thank the S.C. Lions Club Foundation for their persistent work on this issue. They were warned by law enforcement seven years ago and issued a cease and desist order on sale of raffles to members. Since then, they have championed legalizing raffles for the nonprofit community.
Additionally, a special thanks to the Palmetto Family Alliance for their help in crafting a common-sense bill to allow what is done as a simple means of raising money for charity to be put on solid legal footing.
When the amendment passes in November 2014, our state will finally stop making criminals of our churches, civic groups and nonprofits and give them a much-needed tool to better serve their communities.
Beginning in 2015, raffles will be legal and regulated, requiring registration with the Secretary of State’s office.
SCANPO stands ready to help nonprofits register and learn how to best utilize raffles to expand their fundraising. Until then, raffles remain illegal.
S.C. Association of Nonprofit Organizations
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