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Regulators seek universal registration, filing methods.

State regulators are aiming to streamline the oft-criticized charity registration process by creating a single website where charity registration can be done and disseminated to appropriate states. And, a watchdog group is changing the way it looks at standards for for-profit fundraisers.

The National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) unveiled the proposal for a Singlepoint Website during its annual conference in Silver Spring, Md. NASCO has partnered on the project with the Urban Institute and the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School.

The Singlepoint Website would allow a charity or fundraising counsel to complete the necessary registration requirements and select each of the states for which they need to register without duplication.

The three-year pilot project would begin with eight of the 40 states that require charities to register: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri and New Hampshire. The website would be launched during the first year with charities registration and renewals enabled for five of the eight pilot states, according to the proposal, while registration for the other three pilot states would be launched in the second year. Fundraising professional registration capability would be slated in the second year and phased in for the pilot states in the second and third years.

Information sought by secretaries of state and state attorneys general is similar yet requirements are not identical from state to state. Most accept the Uniform Registration Statement (URS) but there is no uniform renewal form and the paper statement is not accepted by electronic filing states. Officials are aiming for the website to alleviate burdens of data duplication and inefficiencies. "We think you the sector will help drive standardization," said Karen Gano of the Connecticut Attorney General's Office, pointing to a timeline of getting the first five states online by 2014, assuming funding can be found next year.
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS BRIEFS
Publication:The Non-profit Times
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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