"Supporting Industry Compliance with FDA and FTC Regulations."


Page Index:

· Index
· Contact Me
· Top

  The Vitamin Lawyer Consultancy

Ralph Fucetola JD

Fundraising for Charity NGOs


Ralph Fucetola, JD
Re:  Fundraising for Charity NGOs


1.  Introduction
2.  Charitable Legal Status
3.  Defining your Mission and community
4.  Getting Money
5.  Getting professional help
6.  Conclusion


Private association charities need funds to operate and carry on the missions for which they were created.  To obtain same, they usually need to rely on private or public donations.  Sometimes they seek the help of professional fundraisers.

"A study by my staff has found less than 40 percent of money raised by charitable fundraisers goes to the actual charity. The majority of professional fundraisers keep for themselves the lion's share of the money they collect."  NY State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Web site FAQs (2004).
In 2003, Public Citizen told the US Supreme Court (in an amicus brief for Illinois v Telemarketing Associates), "As this Court repeatedly has recognized, fundraising cost information is of marginal, if any, relevance to an assessment of a charity’s legitimacy or efficacy. Indeed, there is no consensus as to what figure best represents a fundraising cost percentage or how such a figure should be derived. . .  [In] Village of Schaumburg v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 444 U.S. 620 (1980). . .  the Court explained that because such appeals are ‘characteristically intertwined with informative and perhaps persuasive speech seeking support for particular causes or for particular views on economic, political, or social issues,’ they are treated as speech fully protected by the First Amendment, rather than as commercial speech. . .”

Thus, there is some controversy regarding the benefits of professional fundraising.  It is not my purpose here to argue those benefits, but just to provide some background information about legal status and relationships that may help charitable Trustees make informed decisions regarding their fund raising programs.

Back to Index

Charitable Legal Status

Charities come in many forms and many sizes, from national church denominations, research centers and major foundations to local museums, institutions, Police Athletic Leagues, "Y's" and Book Clubs.  Despite differences in size and mission, they have similar legal concerns when it comes to raising the funds they need to prosper.

This article is not intended to be individualized legal advice to the Trustees regarding professional fundraising and your organization should consider the information herein as it may apply to your location and particular circumstances for general informational purposes only.

To effectively meet their mission objectives, most charitable NGO (non-governmental organizations) Trustee need to pay attention to their legal status.

Primarily, there are three levels or grades to achieving full status.  First, “Non-Profit” Status.  Most such organizations authorize their Trustees to form nonprofit corporations in the state wherein they are active.  Some, especially religious organizations, choose to remain purely private, unincorporated associations (at least two US States do not permit churches to form state-sanctioned corporations). In any event, the "not for profit" aspect of the organization's status is determined by the organizing documents and the laws of the State.

Second, Tax Exempt and Tax Deductible Status.  In the United States such status is conferred through the IRS Code (and the limits on taxation in the Constitution).  While churches are "mandatorily exempt" (Code Section 508) all others must apply and be approved under Section 501(c)(3) which says that any organization organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, educational, scientific research, sports or literary purposes can be exempt.  Such organizations may also accept Tax Deductible Donations and Foundation Grants.  Local organizations are often concerned about Sales Tax status; my experience has been that a State Sales Tax Exemption will be allowed for organizations that have had their Federal Exempt Status recognized.  Again, except for religious organizations that are automatically exempt, once approved, the exempt status relates back 15 months and is reviewed after the first 5 years.

Finally, the relatively new status as a UN recognized "NGO" has become coveted.  Individual agencies and councils within the UNO system separately qualify such organizations which are typically exempt organizations under national law.

Back to Index

Defining Your Mission & Community

The mission of a professional fund raiser is to raise funds for your organization so it can get on with its mission.  The better you understand your mission and the more information you have about your community, the better the professional fund raiser can perform its services (if you effectively communicate it to the fund raiser).  Professional fund raisers have many resources at their disposal, including access to up-to-date lists of local businesses, the main source of local charity funding.

Getting Money

Organizations raise funds in numerous ways:  by means of telemarketing (only where allowed by oversight organizations and local laws), e-marketing, event marketing, direct marketing and through the mail.  Members and beneficiaries canvass door to door (who can resist a Girl Scout at your door, offering treats in exchange for your help).  They seek public and foundation grants.  But, what fundraising methods are effective?  You sponsor an annual fair or other event and it does bring in the bulk of your budget.  Could a professional fundraiser help make the event even more successful?

What works for one NGO may not work for another.  Each community and situation is different, and each needs a different mix of options to reach optimal success.  Professional fund raisers offer an entire range of services, from actually conducting funding projects, such as contacting local companies, through to assisting your organization in its traditional funding activities, such as that annual fair – making it better by bringing a professional perspective to the project.

Getting Professional Help

If you are a Trustee or Officer of a private association and you want your Exempt and NGO status secured or maintained, you need to seek the advice of legal, accounting and fund raising experts.  Various companies can provide important fundraising services and link you to professionals in allied fields. You can find them under "Professional Fundraiser" through search engines such as GOOGLE.  For Grants and other public or foundation funding, check www.grant-help.org.


I trust this brief excursion into some questions about professional fund raising and charitable status is useful to charitable Trustees.  Although I may not be able to personally respond to all inquiries, as Fund Raising Counsel for Emergent Marketing, I appreciate your feedback and questions, which you can address to .  Please also take a look at the Nonprofit and Church Loans web page.

Back to Index

Ralph Fucetola, JD
All Rights Reserved

© 2004, 2005, 2006



Breaking News!
Vitamin Lawyer News
Updated Often!

cGMPs & SoPs are Coming to the Vitamin Industry!
Proposed Current Good Manufacturing Practices
Is Your Company Ready?!?  Click below to learn more!
1. Vitamin Lawyer Report

2. Preparing for a Surprise FDA inspection!
3. Outline of my standard SoPs; Employee Manual

Vitamin Lawyer On Line Seminar - FREE!


 Ralph Fucetola JD

Email me with questions:

Look for the Vitamin Lawyer
Oversight Seal of Approval
on Nutrient Web Sites

Vitamin Lawyer Oversight Seal

Seal Requirements


Your web site needs a proper SUS
Site Use Statement -
Disclosure - Privacy - Disclaimer Page
The Vitamin Lawyer has the right form for you!
LEGAL PROTECTION!  www. SiteUseStatement.com


This site hosted on the net by LifeSpirit Center
This site makes no representations regarding these offers.

© 2007


Powered by counter.bloke.com
AddMe.com, free web site submission and promotion to the search engines


Web Site Index:

· Home Page
· Credentials
· Services
· Payments

· Oversight Seal
 Vitamin Lawyer Oversight Seal

· SOPs
Forming a Company
Vitamin Lawyer News
· FDA - FTC Regs
· Links
· International Services
· Nutrient Picks
· Consumers
· Personal Importation
· Professional Seminars
· FREE Online Seminar
· Vaccine Choice

· Site Use Statement
Site Map
· Top


Home Page · Credentials · Services · Payments · Oversight Seal · Site Use Statement · Top