Monday, June 18, 2012

What counts as "professional fundraising?"

Our PTA filed its annual report with the Charities Program and the confirmation letter we received stated that if we use  a “professional fundraising” there’s an additional fee of $20.  We had both a book sale and a cookie dough sale that involved commercial businesses—does that count as “professional fundraising”? 

First, congratulations on having filed your annual report by the May 31 due date—you may want to make a note for next year that it can be filed early.  We recommend that it be filed at the same time as the PTA’s IRS return is filed, because both filings involve essentially the same

With respect to your question, professional fundraising refers to hiring someone to ask for contributions to your PTA.  For example, it seems like at least once a week—usually during the dinner hour—we receive a call at home from someone asking for a contribution to one cause or another.  While sometimes those calls come from volunteers, most of them are from people who are being paid, and the paid callers fall under the category of “professional fundraising.”  Sales of items such as books or cookie dough, even though the PTA receives part of the proceeds, do not constitute “professional fundraising” for purposes of the Charitable Solicitations act.