We are a Canadian charity with many U.S. donors who make contributions with no tax benefits. Are there any legal restrictions to the nature and/or extent of fundraising solicitations that we may carry out in the U.S.? Is there any way we can offer U.S. tax benefits to our U.S. donors without going through a U.S. 501(c)(3) fiscal agent?
Assuming that you are not a terrorist organization, I am not aware of any limitations on your fundraising efforts in the U.S. You will have to review the charitable solicitation registration law of each state in which you solicit to see whether you are required to register to solicit contributions in that state.
It is possible to obtain grants through a U.S. fiscal agent (See Ready Reference Page: “Charities Must Take Care in Serving as Conduits.”), but the most common way to give U.S. taxpayers the right to deduct contributions that eventually benefit a foreign charity is to create a “friends of” organization in the U.S. U.S. taxpayers are not permitted to claim deductions for gifts to foreign organizations.
For more information on conduits/fiscal sponsorship we recommend the following title: Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right.
Planned giving sounds complicated, with its CRUTs and CRATs, CLUTs and CLATS, and CGAs. It can be incredibly complicated, but it needn’t be. Keeping it simple may be the best way to start a planned giving program for a charity that hasn’t already put one in place.
This webinar offered a review of major planned giving instruments and a discussion of ones that make the most sense to emphasize in starting a planned giving program. It discussed the advantages of integrating planned giving into an existing development program, targeting the best prospects, getting buy-in from the board that is likely to generate results, and setting a structure to make it all happen.
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