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donating anonymously
Old 09-25-2017, 02:13 PM   #1
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donating anonymously

To avoid being inundated with asks, I prefer to donate anonymously. A donor-advised fund can make that happen but AFAIK can only donate to registered charities.

It happened again today. I found a worthy non-profit organization but their only stated donation method is Paypal. Their site mentions no phone, email, or snail mail contacts. Does there exist something similar to a donor-advised fund that can also disburse anonymously to non-profits?
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:38 PM   #2
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One thing you could do is look the website up using whois. That should at least get you closer to finding an appropriate contact.

Put their website URL in here:
https://www.whois.com/whois/

and you'll stand a good chance of getting a mailing address and phone number.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:46 PM   #3
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I'm just the opposite. I consolidate the majority of my charity giving to one organization. That way, I feel my contributions will truly make a difference. It is not unusual for the Executive Director to come over and discuss issues over a beer or two.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:48 PM   #4
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You can open a PayPal Business account for free. Payments from that account only show that they came from your "business". There's no requirement that said business exist anywhere other than your imagination. Use a free email address and a dummy physical address to setup the PayPal account so you won't get unwanted contact from the organization(s) you donate to.

If you need the EIN for the recipient organization because you want to funnel the funds from your DAF through PayPal, then try the IRS' online lookup tool for 501c3 orgs.

If they're not an official 501c3, you probably can't draw the money from the DAF, and you would have to link a credit or bank account to the business PayPal account in order to complete the donation.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:50 PM   #5
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Look at Network for Good :: Donate - you can donate to most any charity anonymously. That said, I now use a donor-advised fund for my major giving.

I would recommend against donating to a charity that is NOT registered as a 501(c)(3) organization. https://guidestar.org/ is a great resource for researching charities. There are lots of scams out there that sound worthwhile but aren't.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:18 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. So far I'm seeing only various ways to donate to charity, but I'm looking to donate to non-profit orgs. An example is PBS - from whom I learned the hard way. Long ago I donated to them non-anonymously then subsequently my maibox got stuffed with asks from them (and their "friends") for years. Since then I've learned that, unlike many other non-profits, PBS advertises a snail mail donation address to which I can send a money order, freeing me from more tote bags and asks. Unfortunately many places I would like to support offer no mailing address. Since donor-advised funds exist for charities it seems there might also be a similar setup to support non-profits, however I've not found it yet.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:24 PM   #7
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If the non-profit accepts bitcoin, you might be able to make an anonymous transfer.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:28 PM   #8
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Most non-profits are that way because they are registered where they can take tax deductible donations. There isn't much difference between what you might call a charity versus a non-profit except that the non-profit may have restrictions on what is assets may be spent on. Say, for instance a fraternal organization foundation may have to spend its donations on educational purposes. I would be more worried about sending money to any organization where they fail to provide any real contact information - such a set-up always smells like a scam to me. I would like to know what chapter of 501 the organization operates under such as 501c3 or 501c4.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:41 PM   #9
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Most non-profits are that way because they are registered where they can take tax deductible donations. There isn't much difference between what you might call a charity versus a non-profit except that the non-profit may have restrictions on what is assets may be spent on.
I was not aware of that, interesting. Can donor-advised funds disburse to, since I've used them as an example, PBS? I believe PBS is not a 501c3.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:50 PM   #10
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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which runs PBS, is a 501(c)(3) organization. EIN 13-2607374. But they want you to donate to your local PBS station, which also qualifies for donor-advised fund giving. For example, New Hampshire Public Television is 501(c)(3).
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:00 PM   #11
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OK, in that case by being a charity PBS is a bad example. Perhaps my assumption that DFAs cannot donate to non-profits is wrong since maybe all non-profits are charities?
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:01 PM   #12
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If I'm not mistaken - 501c's have to report donations above a specific value to the IRS. So anonymous is not possible.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:10 PM   #13
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To donate to PBS, you generally donate to your local affiliate - I believe that is what the PBS.org website indicates. So, for say, Chicago, that is WTTW. WTTW operates as Window to the World Communications, Inc. a nonprofit. It's financial statement indicates that it qualifies as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and thus you can make tax deductible contributions to the organization. If you look at its support page, you can see several ways to donate are shown: Support WTTW | WTTW Chicago Public Media - Television and Interactive. I suspect that each local PBS affiliate is set up much the same way.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:12 PM   #14
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If I'm not mistaken - 501c's have to report donations above a specific value to the IRS. So anonymous is not possible.
Not necessarily. Google Special Rule for Schedule B.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:21 PM   #15
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I was not aware of that, interesting. Can donor-advised funds disburse to, since I've used them as an example, PBS? I believe PBS is not a 501c3.
As jonat said, PBS does have a 501c3.

I think your question is whether your DAF can donate to a non-profit charitable organization that is not registered with the IRS as a 501c3? I think that really depends on who administers your DAF and what their fine print says.

Non-profits come in a lot of flavors in addition to charities, such as HOAs, trade associations, political action committees and campaigns, lobbyists, etc, and a DAF administrator cannot give to some types of non-profits without losing their own 501c3 status. So even if it is legal for a 501c3/DAF administrator to give to an unregistered charity, I doubt that there are many who would take that risk.
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Old 09-25-2017, 05:32 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
To avoid being inundated with asks, I prefer to donate anonymously. A donor-advised fund can make that happen but AFAIK can only donate to registered charities.

It happened again today. I found a worthy non-profit organization but their only stated donation method is Paypal. Their site mentions no phone, email, or snail mail contacts. Does there exist something similar to a donor-advised fund that can also disburse anonymously to non-profits?
I would be very wary of a "charity" that provides "no phone, email, or snail mail contacts."

Your first stop should be guidestar.org. After a free registration that does not get you put on spam lists, you can review the tax returns of any US nonprofit except the very smallest (that do not file). In addition to contact information it will show you what the higher-level people are paid, how much of donations go to administrative costs, any possibly-suspicious things like big money going to for-profit subsidiaries, and a ton of sleep-inducing information you don't care about.

To deduct a significant gift you have to have an acknowledgment from the charity, so assuming you want the deduction you will have to give them your contact information. But you can certainly state your concerns and ask them to promise in writing not to resell your information and not to spam you. There's not much you can do if this turns out to be a lie, but it's probably all you can get unless you are making a very large donation that puts you in a position to negotiate with the top guy.

You can also check in their home state. Many (maybe most) states have charity review functions that try to separate the wheat from the chaff. You might find something of value there.

I have never heard of a "registered" charity. AFIK a non-church "charity" has 501(c)3 tax status, which you can confirm at guidestar.org. I would consider anyone claiming to have a "unregistered" charity to be a scammer. YMMV, of course.
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Old 09-25-2017, 05:51 PM   #17
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So here's my charity pet peeve....I preface this by saying I have been a pretty decent and happy giver for some time. Now 50% of the time I go to the store and I have to decline "rounding up" or giving of some sort. It makes me feel guilty. I want to say "I give lots and to different charities" but I let it go. I see the ability to raise lots of money easily but this is geared to those who don't commit to giving. Just my take... Thanks for listening
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:25 PM   #18
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Hence I filled up a grocery cart & had a grocery clerk help me put it in the food bank barrel. Anonymous is best for me bc I no longer itemize
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:26 PM   #19
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So here's my charity pet peeve....I preface this by saying I have been a pretty decent and happy giver for some time. Now 50% of the time I go to the store and I have to decline "rounding up" or giving of some sort. It makes me feel guilty. I want to say "I give lots and to different charities" but I let it go. I see the ability to raise lots of money easily but this is geared to those who don't commit to giving. Just my take... Thanks for listening
Plus, while the contributions might really do some good, I take issue with the store getting the tax deduction after they turn in the thousands of dollars they collected from their customers.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:45 AM   #20
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Plus, while the contributions might really do some good, I take issue with the store getting the tax deduction after they turn in the thousands of dollars they collected from their customers.
It seems to me if you have the donation on your receipt, you could take the deduction. I don't see how the store could possibly take the deduction. Do you have a reference?
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