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Frequently Asked Questions for Solicitors

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Who is a solicitor?
Any person who “solicits,” as defined by the NBMC. NBMC section 5.42.020 defines “solicit” and “solicitation” as the “request for, or offer of, money, services, opinion, support, information or property.” In general, this includes everyone who offers to sell anything, whether the sale benefits a charity or a commercial company. It also includes political canvassers, persons conducting opinion polls, and persons sharing their religious views.

Who is a "commercial solicitor"?
A person whose solicitation is primarily intended to lead to a commercial transaction. This can include a person offering to sell an individual’s or company’s goods or provide services for a fee.

However, “commercial solicitation” also includes solicitors who are paid to solicit on behalf of a nonprofit or noncommercial entity, or who retain any portion of the funds they raise on the nonprofit entity’s behalf. A common example of this is when a commercial entity organizes groups of solicitors to canvas a neighborhood offering to sell products in order to raise money for a nonprofit organization or noncommercial cause. If the commercial entity is paid by the nonprofit or keeps a portion of the funds raised, the NBMC defines this as commercial solicitation. The commercial entity must register with the Newport Beach Police Department, and each individual solicitor must carry a registration card. (See NBMC section 5.42.020.)

Who is a "noncommercial solicitor"?
A person whose solicitation is not primarily related to an economic transaction such as the sale of goods or services. This category includes political canvassers, persons offering to share their religious or political views, or persons otherwise engaging in noncommercial speech. Consistent with First Amendment law, these solicitors are not required to register with the Newport Beach Police Department.

However, if a solicitor is raising funds for a nonprofit entity, or selling products to raise funds for a nonprofit entity, and that solicitor is not paid to fundraise, and does not keep any portion of the funds raised, he or she is also considered a noncommercial solicitor and does not need to register with the Newport Beach Police Department before soliciting. (See NBMC section 5.42.020.) This category includes individuals and groups of volunteers raising money for political, religious, school or community purposes (so long as they do not retain any portion of the funds raised, and are not paid for their efforts.)

Do handbill or flyer distributors need to obtain a registration card?
No. However, the NBMC requires that any handbill placed on residential property include a legible notice that gives the name, address and phone number of the person or organization responsible for the handbills. The handbill must also contain a notice that that anyone who does not wish to receive additional handbills may notify that person or organization. After receiving such notice, the distributor may not deliver more handbills to that residential property. (See NBMC section 5.42.120.)