Q: How do I verify tax exempt status?
A: Please remember that not all charity or non-profit organizations are tax-deductible. You can always verify tax-exemption status with the IRS with the EO Select tool: http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check
Q: Is there a difference between Crowdrise and Gofundme?
A: Crowdrise will allow you to select a specific organization as the benefiting non-profit. The money donated will then go directly to that organization, and will remain tax-deductible via crowdrise. GoFundMe is a personal fundraising site that does not allow for individuals to fundraise for organizations. Money given there goes into the persons account, and you are trusting they will turn it over to the benefiting organization.
Q: What about Tee springs or similar online shirt auction sites?
A: Anytime you can purchase directly from the benefiting non-proft, that is the best choice. Some of the online shirt auction sites are trying to do a better job at vetting the crooks; however, by the time they figure it out the crooks have taken their money and run. If the legitimate non-profit supports it, they will likely be promoting it on their own sites.
Q: Can I receive a tax exemption if I donate to a third party group?
A: The third party fundraiser will need to be an IRS approved 501c3 in order for you to claim exemption. If the group is not a 501c3 and tells you to use the another organization's tax exempt ID, do NOT donate to them unless you like tax audits.
Q: Why not give to a Third Party Fundraising groups?
A: Again, anytime you can donate directly to the non-profit you need to donate to them. This will allow you to claim tax-exemption and it will ensure the funds go where you intend them. If a third party group sets up a fundraiser to help an organization, it needs be all about the non-profit not about the third party group. Also, ensure that you verify if the third party is legitimate. Each state has its own laws regarding fundraising.
Q: What do I do if I believe there is a scam?
A: File a complaint with the State Attorney General office where the organization resides. Many states have online forms that are very simple to fill out. You can file as a general consumer complaint or a charitable trust/registration complaint. Also, share what happened to you to prevent any scam from spreading.