HARRISBURG – After hearing from local fire companies that were blindsided by fees and audits on fundraising efforts, Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) introduced legislation to aid volunteer fire companies by ensuring more money raised through fundraising actually goes to the companies.
House Bill 1973
would exempt volunteer fire companies from certain audit requirements and reduce fines imposed under current law.
“Since taking office, I have been approached by a few local fire companies that lost out on untold amounts of money because they were forced to adhere to more stringent requirements simply because they hired a third-party professional fundraiser,” Ecker said. “This deeply cuts into efforts to raise money that is used to buy gas for the fire engines that would show up at your home if it were on fire.”
Current law states charitable organizations soliciting contributions must annually register with the Department of State’s Bureau of Charitable Organizations. The use of a third-party professional fundraiser for something as simple as preparing “mailers” automatically triggers the requirement for an independent audit or review of financial statements.
The Department of State already allows for an exemption from the registration if fundraising activities are carried out by members or volunteers of the charitable organization.
“House Bill 1973 simply extends the exemption to fire companies, whether they hire a third party, or have a volunteer or member do fundraising efforts,” Ecker said. “Residents’ donations are further protected by existing audits that fire companies must perform.”
House Bill 1973 is in the House Finance Committee.
Representative Torren Ecker
193rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross