Few reports have impacted the non-profit sector more than last month's State Regulation and Enforcement in the Charitable Sector report, authored by Cindy Lott. In short, the paucity of state government resources dedicated to effective regulation is stark. For example, the research confirmed that "most state charity offices have few staff to conduct their work and carry out their responsibilities." More than half of the reporting jurisdictions have less than three full-time equivalent employees. Staff includes attorneys and non-attorney staff, such as investigators, accountants and support staff. In addition, 13 jurisdictions have a stand-alone state attorney general’s charities bureau, while 14 jurisdictions house the charities unit within their AG’s consumer protection division.
Those states that are active are attending this year’s National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) meeting in Washington D.C. (Oct 17-19), where this report will be discussed. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), which co-hosts this annual conference, is wisely appointing a permanent committee to discuss non-profit governance at the attorney general level. Let's hope that attorneys general dramatically increase the resources devoted to this critical area.