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Grant Awarded to Guidestar to Create National Charity Registry

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - Oct. 20, 2003) - State registration should be easier for charities in the future because of a new federal grant aimed at creating a national charity registry.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded Guidestar, the national database of nonprofit information, a grant to develop a one-step registration system. The Technology Opportunities Program grant will fund the creation of NASCONet, a national online charity registration and information system.

Guidestar will undertake the $1.3 million project with the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO).

Forty states require charity registration, but guidelines and forms vary across the country. However, even when states use the Unified Registration Statement, charities still have to take the time to submit the form to every state in which they conduct fundraising efforts.

'State regulators spend more than 50 percent of their budgets on collecting and managing charity data - often the same information from state to state - and it costs an individual charity approximately $25,000 to register in all 40 states,' said GuideStar President and CEO Robert G. Ottenhoff in a press release. 'NASCONet will interconnect state charity offices, allowing charity officials to share information and giving charities a common registration system. This streamlined process will enable state regulators to spend more time on charity oversight, save charities millions of dollars and protect donors from giving to fraudulent or unethical organizations.'

AFP has been working with its chapters make sure they are registered and encourages all nonprofits to register even if they are exempt. Registering shows your willingness to be open and accountable to your community and donors and signifies a strong belief in ethical fundraising.

'Currently, registration systems are different in each state, with varying forms and requirements, and it can take a lot of time to comply,' said Peg Bergeron, AFP manager of chapter services. 'This new registry would be a tremendous asset to AFP chapters and other nonprofits who work hard to make sure they are registered in the states where they do fundraising.'

For more information on the Guidestar grant, read the Guidestar press release.

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