Fundraising Ideas That Work

How to raise $500 to $5000 quickly for your school, church, sports, or public service charity.


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How do I check out a charity I want to donate to or volunteer with?

Philip Copitch, Ph.D.


The best place to start is probably the charity’s web site. This will give you access to the charity’s full and correct name, and typically its nonprofit status and IRS number. If it is a nonprofit it should make this information readily available.

Then you should do due diligence and check with the Internal Revenue Service to make sure the charity’s name and numbers match.

IRS Sites:

Tax Information for Contributors

Organizations Eligible to Receive Tax-Deductible Charitable Contributions

Exempt Organizations Select Check (EO Select Check) allows users to search a list of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions (Pub. 78 data).


Other Eligible Donees according to the IRS

Some entities eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions may not be listed in Exempt Organizations Select Check (Pub. 78 data).

• Churches and certain affiliated organizations

• Group exemption subordinate organizations

• Governmental units (including Indian tribal governments)


Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, conventions or associations of churches, and public charities whose annual gross receipts are normally not more than $5,000, may also be treated as tax-exempt.

A word of caution

Unfortunately, fake charities do pop up. If you can’t get the information you need, that is a warning flag. You can call your local district attorney’s office. Local DAs tend to be very protective of their communities and they want to know about fake charities that are lurking in their county.

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