Accounting for Non-Profits: Fundraising

Nonprofit organizations receive many different types of revenue. Some nonprofits are government funded, while others receive funds from donors and foundations. Most nonprofit organizations conduct fundraising events to raise money for operations or for certain programs. Often nonprofits have annual fundraising events such as mailing campaigns,marathons, golf events, dinners, galas, and other events to raise funds for general use. Proceeds and expenses associated with these types of events are booked in the unrestricted/general fund. If the fundraising event is for a specific program or for something to happen in the following year, then money from the event is restricted.

Usually big fundraising events raise money for unrestricted use. This money raised is reported separately in the Statement of Activities in the unrestricted fund column. It’s also reported separate on the 990. Many times donors get something for their donation. This is known as a “quid pro quo” and may be a dinner or auctioned items. Someone makes a donation and gets something in return, such as the value of food, entertainment, or items bought at an auction, etc. This is also called “exchange value.”

Donors’ receipts must specify how much of a donation is a “real” donation, and how much is not. Donors may be able to deduct only the donation part of the gift. If a person gives $200 for a dinner fundraiser, and the ticket says “Value of the meal: $50,” then donor can deduct only $150 in his taxes, not the entire amount. In an auction, if something is valued at $1,000 and a donor gives $1,500 for it, the difference of $500 is the real donation.

When a donor makes a donation of $1,000 (or other amount) for a dinner fundraiser and doesn’t show up for whatever reason, he or she can deduct the entire amount. Beware that organizations are not supposed to determine the real deductibility of an item, which can change by person and circumstances.The IRS offers workshops to nonprofits about this topic. It also has a site just for nonprofit organizations at http://www.irs.gov/charities/index.html

Many times organizations combine fundraising activities with programs or with management and general administration. When that happens, a reasonable allocation of expenses may be used. Why? Because GAAP and an additional financial report, Schedule of Functional Expenses, require this allocation. (All expenses need to be allocated to the three major areas-- general/management, programs, and fundraising.) Special events are shown separately in the Statement of Activities (Income Statement of nonprofits). If the event is not that important, revenues and "Direct donor benefit costs" can be shown as net. “Direct donor benefits costs” are direct expenses associated with the event.

The line for direct donor costs could also be reported as part of expenses. Another option for reporting major events is to use the exchange value and to divide the income between contributions and special event revenues (see quid-pro-quo discussion earlier). The fair market value is shown as special event revenue; the rest is shown as regular contribution.

This article is an excerpt from Sheila Shanker's course Non-Profits Operations and Accounting.

This blog

by Sue Anderson - Based on 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently program director for online CPE provider, CPE Link. Formerly with the California CPA Education Foundation managing key operational areas including marketing, program development, and distance learning.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

45452

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

78153

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

50505

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

92006
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
22220

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

57739

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

83008

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

26339

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

66314

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

35866
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
105303
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
27582

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

54662
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
29513
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
33908

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

103400

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

35212

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

114491

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

63287

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

41187
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
68370

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

94493

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

55551