Single Portal Registration – Making the Complicated More Complicated?

Single Portal Registration – Making the complicated more complicated? 

The single portal registration initiative announced last year by the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) and the National Association of Attorney Generals (NAAG) is the next attempt at a “one-stop shop” for charity registration.  A visit to the NASCO website shows no update on the imitative.  In fact, the web page still announces the Request for Information due by April 1, 2016.  The article closes with the hopeful statement, “We anticipate launching an operational website in phases beginning in 2016.”

Clearly Compliant has been, and continues to be, supportive of a single portal initiative.  We are also fully aware of the tremendous complexities and challenges of coordinating with 40 jurisdictions – each operating under their unique statutes and requirements.  The stated purpose of the single portal has been to simplify the charity registration process and make it easier for small and large nonprofits alike to comply with state statutes.

However, it appears there is a strong focus on using the single portal charity registration as an investigative tool to track a nonprofit organization’s activities. Here is what Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, the NAAG president says, “I think this will be revolutionary. It’s important in a lot of ways, including making interstate cooperation easier, and through statistical analysis, finding outliers and possible corruption by nonprofits. For example, the historic, multi-state case against Cancer Fund of America likely would have been a months-long investigation instead of a four-year effort.” The single portal will provide more opportunities for collaboration. “It’s that kind of collaboration that makes these investigations possible,” Jepsen said.

      Keep It Simple    

Developing a single portal system for charity registration to make it easier for nonprofits to register is complicated enough.  Is this really the time to add additional complexity by turning what is supposed to be a tool for nonprofits into an investigative system for Attorney Generals?