Case Study: Combined Arms

Achieving Nationwide Fundraising Compliance

Combined Arms is a Texas-based organization aimed at accelerating veterans’ transitions from military to civilian life. By connecting service members with the resources they need to make an impact in their local communities, the nonprofit offers holistic support for veterans in their next stage of personal and professional development.

Jennifer Brown serves as Development Events Manager for Combined Arms. When asked what aspect of the organization’s impact she takes the most pride in, she claimed without hesitation, “Our technology platform and how quickly we are able to connect veterans to the services they need. Combined Arms is making collaboration and communication between veteran serving organizations the norm.”

This foundation in technology, along with successful mergers with Lone Star Veterans Association and the National Association of Veteran Serving Organizations, has led to rapid growth for the nonprofit.

The only problem was that their fundraising compliance wasn’t keeping pace with this rapid growth.

Two Combined Arms members posing at a weight lifting bench

The Challenge

“Combined Arms' compliance needs have grown in direct proportion with the new and more complex funding opportunities that continue to develop in line with our overall organizational growth and expansion,” explained Jennifer. “So we're given new opportunities and bigger opportunities as we continue to grow. And right now we're not able to capitalize on those funding opportunities because we're not compliant.”

But pursuing new opportunities was just one piece of the puzzle. Internally, the organization had limited resources to dedicate to fundraising registration and renewals. This meant that staff were only able to fundraise in their domicile state of Texas, relying on their (then) CFO to manage compliance. Additionally, Jennifer was no stranger to the woes of in-house fundraising registration management: “Having handled charitable compliance registrations for other orgs, I knew I did not want to do it on a national scale for an org that grows significantly in scale every month.”

Combined Arms was looking to capitalize on its exponential growth, and charitable solicitation registration was a hurdle it needed to quickly overcome.

The Solution

The nonprofit turned to Harbor Compliance to manage annual charitable registration in all 41 required jurisdictions.

A Harbor Compliance Client Success Manager quickly contacted Jennifer to begin the onboarding process, noting that Harbor Compliance’s user-friendly technology “was a big differentiator for her during the vendor selection process.” With Harbor Compliance’s purpose-built software—including Entity Manager and License Manager—at their disposal, Combined Arms can now monitor secretary of state and fundraising registrations easily from a single interface.

Two Combined Arms members unloading a truck

Our goal with Harbor Compliance is to become nationally compliant and stay compliant through renewals so that we can expand our fundraising efforts and increase our revenue to continue forward driving our mission.

More importantly, Jennifer enjoyed how personal the experience was. She was connected with a knowledgeable Client Success Manager, who walked her through the initial registration and renewal process. She was pleased with how smoothly her dedicated point-of-contact handled communication, saying she was, “...extremely informative, upfront when she doesn't have an answer to a question, yet always researches, finds, and provides the info…”

In addition to Combined Arms’ Client Success Manager, Harbor Compliance offered a support network of compliance experts, who worked to supply Jennifer with answers to all her related registration and account questions. “I like having a single point of contact, knowing there's a team behind her and she can send it upstream, or downstream, or vertically. However, she needs to do that. I don't have to figure out who I need to talk to for a certain issue. She figures that out and then brings the information back to me in a concise manner,” Jennifer commented.

Now that Combined Arms has outsourced its charitable solicitation registrations, it’s poised to expand its fundraising efforts into new states. The organization’s staff can turn their attention towards generating greater impact, with the confidence that they're fully meeting state-specific requirements.

“Beyond fitting our budget, Harbor Compliance [offers] an all-encompassing, streamlined management tool that takes the stress out of compliance registration so that we can focus on fundraising, not administration,” said Jennifer. “Our goal with Harbor Compliance is to become nationally compliant and stay compliant through renewals so that we can expand our fundraising efforts and increase our revenue to continue forward driving our mission.”

The Future

So what’s next for Combined Arms? According to Jennifer, “national compliance and taking over the world!”

And we don’t think she was joking. With their charitable solicitation registrations and renewals managed by the experts at Harbor Compliance, Combined Arms is well-prepared to increase revenue and support more veterans in their transition to civilian life.

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