Unauthorized Fundraising: Keeping Your Employees’ Donations Safe
Nonprofits serve vital roles in our society to feed the hungry, house the homeless, further education, and more. Unfortunately, last month we saw a group take advantage of this trusted status. Four people used the Wounded Warrior name to solicit funds that they never intended to donate. This type of “fundraising”, often labeled Unauthorized Fundraising, is a scam where individuals take advantage of the inherent public trust in nonprofits in order to request donations. Often times these scams take place during times of natural disaster or other high-profile events. While the public is scammed out of their money and untrusting of more deception, the nonprofit is disastrously altered through the loss of its good reputation by no fault of its own.
Combatting Unauthorized Fundraising
As a CSR practitioner, there are a few best practices to help ensure your employees’ gifts make it to the intended NPO:
Verify Information. When a new NPO reaches out and asks to gain access to your employees, do a quick search to ensure that person is a legitimate representative tied to that NPO. Looking at their business card and Linkedin profile should be a good start, but if you’re still feeling weary, go ahead and call the local office of the NPO to ensure that person is a representative. You can also lookup NPO names, addresses, and more on guidestar.org if an NPO name sounds familiar to you, but not quite right.
Give through an employee engagement platform. Encourage employees to give donations through your employee engagement platform (we recommend YourCause’s employee engagement product, CSRconnect). The platform allows employee peace of mind. They can trust that donations given through this platform go through a series of checks and balances to ensure they are protected and delivered to the intended source. If you’re curious about this system, keep reading below!
Use a Fundraising Tool. When holding an on-site fundraiser, often times large amounts of cash can change through multiple hands. YourCause clients eliminate the risk and responsibility by accepting fundraising payments through fundraising tools. Just bring a computer out to the event, and anyone can log in and give.
Require tax receipts. When vetting giving platforms, ensure that the products you’re looking at automatically generate tax receipts for donations on behalf of U.S. nonprofits and international charities. This allows your employees an instant verification that their donation was successful and they have proof it was made when it comes time to file their taxes.
YourCause Keeps Your Cause Safe
At YourCause, we work with thousands of nonprofits globally to help connect donors with mission-focused, nonprofit organizations. We take pride in the work that we do, and the missions that we help further.
The process of becoming a legally recognized, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the United States is rigorous and at YourCause we take that seriously. It requires that new organizations have Bylaws, a Board of Directors, and leadership in place. All of these requirements aim at one goal – creating a system of checks and balances to ensure the organization is focused on mission-driven work. We are proud to work with nonprofit organizations that have a 501(c)3 status because we know that they can be trusted.
International charities have a similar level of checks and balances in place. In addition, YourCause offers different levels of vetting before allowing these organizations to be eligible to receive donations through our platform. This process ensures these organizations are legitimate organizations and that they adhere to our high standards. Finally, we ensure that all organizations are run through OFAC screenings, which ensures that each eligible organization is not on a terrorist watch list.
Giving through CSRconnect, our employee engagement platform allows peace of mind for the donor. It allows you to know that your full donation is going exactly where you intended it. Donations are never held by an individual, they are queued to go directly to a nonprofit, and the donor receives an immediate tax receipt as well. It also allows our nonprofit partners the security of understanding our process and knowing that, when we distribute funds that have been donated through our platform, we make the donation directly to the Nonprofit. In the US this means educating NPOs on the benefits of ACH (Automatic Clearing House) a process where funds are quickly and directly deposited to the NPO’s bank account. If an NPO has not registered for ACH, we’ll mail checks directly to the NPO address registered with the IRS. If we’re working with an organization that is based abroad it means that we wire donations directly to NPO bank accounts.
We take the security of both the donors using our platform and our nonprofit partners seriously. Ensuring that donations are delivered securely and efficiently so that they can start aiding in NPO mission, is what makes our team tick!
It is understandable to be concerned that your employees’ donations are delivered to a legitimate nonprofit. There are many ways that you, as a CSR practitioner, can ensure that your employee’s donations are delivered safely. The strongest among them? Utilize a giving platform, like YourCause’s CSRconnect, that verifies NPO identities, ensures gifts are safely delivered and mitigates your risk at onsite fundraisers. These tools are available to help minimize your programs risk and your employee’s gifts are fulfilled.
To learn more about emerging trends in CSR, check out the first post in this series over Public Displays of Responsibilities.