Donating Your Dollars: What You Need to Know

A message from Deb Kloeppel, CASY:

I receive many calls during the week from potential donors who want to know everything possible about CASY's mission, infrastructure, and successes. During these information-gathering conversations, I find myself educating potential funders on their donor rights, mission expectations, and what their hard-earned dollars will support. I also have to talk about the "dark side” of some nonprofit organizations who remain evasive and non-transparent to the donor and the IRS.

Because donors deserve the truth regarding what their funding dollars support, I've taken on the task of educating potential donors on best practices of nonprofits and, unfortunately, what type of nonprofit should NOT receive your donation.

Lesson One: While deciding whom to donate to, please review the below IRS link first. This list, updated regularly, concerns the revocation of a nonprofit's tax exempt status. Tax Exempt Revocations http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/forwardToRevokeDownload.do

Lesson Two: The IRS guidelines govern the amount of money nonprofits are to spend on administrative costs (which includes fundraising costs). Nonprofit organizations cannot exceed 20% of their funding dollars on administrative costs. CASY was recently vetted by the IRS and the Call of Duty Endowment (CODE) as spending 96 cents of EVERY dollar on mission, while spending only 1% on administrative costs, which placed CASY in the "excellent" category of IRS standing, while Activision's Call of Duty awarded CASY their CODE Seal of Distinction as "the most cost-efficient and productive nonprofit” they (CODE) encountered.

Lesson Three: Donors have a Bill of Rights: http://www.afpnet.org/files/ContentDocuments/Donor_Bill_of_Rights.pdf  for IRS information.

Lesson Four: If a nonprofit does NOT post its Form 990 publicly, or backdates its Form 990s (ie, 2014 forms) do NOT donate to that organization. Rule of Thumb: if you have to call a nonprofit in order to inquire about its 990 status because the organization does not publicly disclose - this should be a clear RED FLAG to you as a donor. Legally, nonprofits do not have to publicly disclose the 990. They are, however, required to produce the 990 upon asking. Why would you donate to a nonprofit who does not voluntarily disclose its recent year 990 within its Annual Report or the Donate section of its website? It’s a danger zone indeed.

Number Five: Always check with vetting organizations like GuideStar, with whom CASY has a Gold Level rating, or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance which accredits our sister organization, the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network. Why is this important? These accrediting organizations ensure that nonprofits adhere to strict standards of financial responsibility, transparency, and trustworthiness.

CASY STRICTLY adheres to the Donor Bill of Rights. If you have any questions, please contact Deb Kloeppel at  donate@casy.us or by phone at 1-877-696-7226.