Fundraising Events: Advice for Donors

Fall is approaching , and many of us look forward to time spent outdoors with family and friends. As the variety of fundraising events varies from one charitable organization to another, donors have more opportunities to choose. These include walkathons or races, concerts, raffles as well as other games, auctions, and galas.

But before you go, there are a few things to consider when handing over your cash.  Here are some helpful questions and answers you might ask:

Q: What charity or charities does the event sponsor?

A: Some events are sponsored by a single charity; others may involve several different organizations partnering for a shared cause.

Q: What activities or programs do the benefiting charities provide?

A: Don’t assume you can tell what the charity does from the name alone. Check out the nature of the charity’s program service activities. How is it specifically addressing the problem or need the event is promoting?

Q: How much of the money collected will go to the benefiting organization(s)?

A: This depends on how the event is organized. Is the charity one among a number of benefiting groups for the event? Did they organize it themselves or hire an outside fund raising firm? Whatever the circumstances, the charity should be able to clearly explain its answer to this question to all participants and donors.

Q: Is my participation fee or donation tax-deductible?

A: IRS Publication 526 explains that, for a charity event such as a banquet or ball, you can deduct only the amount that is more than the fair-market-value of the benefits you receive. For example, if you pay $100 for a ticket to a charity fund raising dinner at a hotel, and the usual price for a similar meal at the hotel is $25, then only $75 of the ticket would be deductible. In most instances, the charity will disclose the amount of the purchase that is deductible on the event information.

Remember to research the organization with the BBB first. Visit BBBDenverNonprofits.org to find local BBB Accredited Charities.