The City of Orlando has updated its ordinances dealing with non-commercial solicitation. Non-commercial solicitation occurs when the proceeds are for a charitable, patriotic, public, philanthropic or political purpose – in other words, not for a business venture. The City’s ordinances addressing non-commercial solicitation can be found in chapter 51 of the City Code
Solicitation is a request for donations of money, property or financial assistance of any kind. It can take many forms from bake sales to requesting money from passersby in the heart of downtown.
Most individuals and groups who want to solicit in the City of Orlando are required to register. Registration is a simple process that can be completed by calling the City’s ID Unit at 407.246.2417, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Certain groups and some solicitation activities are exempt from the registration requirement. If your activity is covered by one of the following exemptions, you do NOT need to register with the City before beginning your activity:
- Is conducted by an organization within its own membership.
- Is conducted by a school, college, or university or by some organization sponsored by or affiliated with a school, college, or university.
- Is conducted by a governmental agency acting within the scope of its governmental authority.
- Is conducted by a candidate for election pursuant to Florida Statutes.
- Is a constitutionally guaranteed exercise of First Amendment rights.
Certain dangerous and aggressive conduct is prohibited regardless of whether or not a solicitor has registered. As outlined in section 51.06(2) of the City Code, the following aggressive solicitation techniques are always illegal in Orlando:
- Blocking any legal parking area or structure such that vehicles cannot enter or exit that parking area.
- Harassing the person solicited.
- Following an individual or group of persons with the intent to harass that individual or group.
- Continuing to actively solicit a captive audience after receiving a clear refusal.
- Soliciting an individual while that person is operating an automated teller machine (ATM).
- Entering the premises of private property for the purpose of soliciting when a “No Solicitors” sign is posted.
These prohibitions are primarily focused on public safety, but also preserve an individual or group’s right to solicit while protecting the citizens and visitors to the City Beautiful from harassment and intimidation.
Although not in chapter 51, solicitors should know that it is also illegal to obtain anything from, or give anything to, the occupant of a vehicle stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. This ordinance, enacted as section 43.06(k) serves to protect both the solicitor and those in vehicles from dangerous interactions in the roadway that can cause crashes and impede traffic.
Your safety is always the number one concern while soliciting, so please stay safe and stay out of the street.