Nothing erks me more than seeing fly by night charities pop up here and there. Asking for donations left and right and not being a 501c3. I recently saw a “new charity” pop up on the horse boards, a group claiming to take donations and then give those donations to other actual charities. When taking others money through you to then give to another charity being a 501c3 is the only way to go in my opinion. Without that The “donations” are considered the collectors personal income and is taxable not to mention the “donations” are not (as she claims) tax deductible. And to top it off I personally wouldn’t want my donation taxed at all, it should all go to the charity. Which is THE POINT OF BECOMING A CHARITY IN THE FIRST PLACE… Whew I feel better.
While I don’t doubt this person had good intentions, good intentions sometimes just don’t cut it. I then asked, do you have your 501c3? The response was basically, other people do it so I can too. Unfortunately, for them and you, it’s still very much frowned upon. I tried to share my knowledge of the 501c3 process to her. I was attacked like, how dare I ask her, she event went as far as saying, “I wish you would delete your comments.”
And I’m sure that would make her happy but the public can and does ask that very question quite often, and it is their right. However, I won’t delete my comments because people need to know who they are donating to. Her answer was NO they did not have a 501c3 but she claimed she was a registered charity with Texas and she would continue organizing fundraisers, of which you can be fined for mind you. I tried to enlighten her saying she needs to be careful with her wording and use the word gift instead of donation to avoid issue. And also to not write people’s “donations” were tax deductible because they are not unless you are a full blown 501c3 or are in the process of becoming one… but what do I know right. My suggestions fell on deaf ears I’m sure of because of the defensive catty responses I received.
So much for trying to help. If running a charity was that easy everyone would be doing it. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve seen this. I did our 501c3 and personally funded our rescue efforts until we became one. Of course I feel everyone else should play by the rules also. The IRS doesn’t make exceptions for anyone.
Don’t let an unscrupulous charity take advantage of your goodwill. Find a charity with a proven track record of success with dealing with the type of issues at hand. Avoid fly-by-night charities created specifically to deal with any new crisis. Even well-meaning new organizations will not have the infrastructure and knowledge of the region to efficiently maximize your gift. If you do feel compelled to give to a new charity, be sure to get proof that the group is in fact a registered public charity with 501 (c) (3) status.
As for these overnight charities I really do wish them all the best. I once had a dream of doing good and made that dream a reality! There can never be enough good in the world but do it the right way. Bring a 501c3 is something you have to work for and you appreciate when you have. Those of us who have it do not take kindly to when others fabricate the charity status. I play by the rules and things are hard enough but I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do otherwise.