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Nothing I know of would limit this contact, in fact I consider vendors one of the 7 Foundational Fundraisers for today's school foundations.
Vendors can and should be challenged with a donation of 1-3% or more of their gross sales to your school or district. You can check with your bookkeeper to determine this amount.
Now, with really large corporations, you are better off checking in on whether or not they have a foundation....check their 990 records on www.guidestar.org. Actually large corporations have more available philanthropic dollars in their foundations than they have floating in advertising or marketing funds, which is where companies will pay funds donations from. So check research each company first for resource availability.
Tactics for making the ask? Check with your fellow school personnel....who has the connections with these people....board members can really help you here, as one of their most important tasks is to either identify, cultivate or solicit potential donors.
I hope this helps!
There is an old fundraising adage which goes “People don’t give because of the school’s need to have; they give based on their need to give.” Always keep the donor’s interests in mind as you fundraise. Good fund raisers must determine those interests and try to match them with the needs of your school foundation. Far too many fundraisers are done without that research, so make sure you listen and respond to potential donors first.
In Tanya Drollinger’s Purdue University study, she found the following factors were characteristic of the donors in her study.
“Religious affiliation, pro-social experiences, and favorable attitudes toward charitable organizations were statistically significant and positively related to being a volunteer. Age was not significantly related to the likelihood of donating, volunteering or holding positive attitudes regarding charities.
Others have found that the people more likely to give are better educated, religious, married with children, or women. Alumni donors were found to be wealthier, middle aged or older, and emotionally tied to their alma maters.
“Volunteerism was also found to be statistically significant and positively related to donating to charity.
Above all else, remember that people give to people…. Therefore, it takes knowledgeable and passionate individuals to aptly communicate the needs of the foundation and ask for support.
The most popular occupations include the following:
• Bank officers
• Attorney (especially one familiar with estate planning and or nonprofit organizational experience)
• Retired school employees
• Individuals with nonprofit experience (former board member of a college, university or hospital foundation)
The most sought after personal characteristics include:
• Credibility in the community.
• Time to work for the foundation.
• Loyal to the school being supported by the foundation.
• Passionate about the mission of the school and or foundation.
• Willing to learn the processes and protocols of a solid school foundation.
Remember, board members should represent the broadest cross-section of the community. This will maximize benefits toward building community relationships and harnessing available expertise. Successful foundations tend to have broad expectations of their board members, including raising funds, educating community and business members of the work of the school, protecting and managing funds, promoting ethical standards of operation, developing policies and procedures for the foundation, and hiring and supporting the development of the executive director … so choose your members wisely!
Board members have been called upon to not only donate their time and talent to the school foundation, but also a measure of their treasure. These expectations should be clearly explained in the board manual. Additionally, many school foundations are replete with many volunteers, who work daily for no compensation.
In answer to your question, yes I see some possible problems with the grandparent gift, but there are also some positives as well.
First of all the problems: generally, charitable giving principles and the IRS, with its “personal benefit” clause intend that individuals should not benefit personally (at least intentionally) from a gift made to a charitable organization. The only intentional benefit should be the "warm glow" as it’s often called in the literature: the satisfaction of helping others in need.
The grandparents in this case would appear (and of course I don’t know their intent) to be donating expecting to benefit personally from this gift in two ways:
1. By helping their grandchild with a monetary gift, and
2. By making a tax deductible gift as well!
To avoid this problem: set up a scholarship oversight committee or have the school foundation board establish written guidelines governing the awarding of scholarships. Establish criteria and then solicit donations accordingly. Your criteria may be fairly broad; however such criteria must be easily governed by you with the help of a set of guidelines or directly by your "scholarship oversight committee".
For example, a scholarship for seniors wishing to major in secondary education is established by the school foundation, the grandparents donate, and if the grandchild happens to qualify, that's okay, but the scholarship awarding decision/activity should not be left to the grandparents. Scholarship merit, determination and awarding should be controlled by a third party: a neutral and unbiased committee following a specific set of guidelines.
If you are responsible for awarding these scholarships, then you must follow a pre-written and approved set of guidelines which meet “charitable deductibility” standards of foundation. You may ask an attorney or CPA familiar with tax deductible procedures to review your guidelines before you publish your scholarship intentions with your community. The last thing you want is to damage or jeopardize your 501(c) (3) not for profit status with the IRS and the associated benefit of offering tax deductibility to donors.
Now the positives: These people want to donate so get to know them a bit more, learn of their interests. Perhaps they have a passion for preparing future secondary teachers and could get behind a campaign to develop such a scholarship. There may be great donor potential here, so becareful not to quench any interest in giving to your foundation.
Hope this helps, please call if you have more questions or concerns.
In my opinion, governance and organization might be the biggest problem with this model, as all non-profit organizations (NPO), like a school foundation, must be registered as such with state and local governments, as well as with the IRS. In doing so, by-laws must be established for the organization and a board of directors must be elected. It would appear that the PTA/O would need to fulfill all of these very important reporting, management and governance roles expected of a board of an NPO? Or will they be satisfied to raise the money and let a foundation board spend the money? Might there also be some confusion of roles between the PTA/O, which have national organization structure and rules vs. the structure and governance of a local education foundation?
At any rate, almost any structure can work as long as the there are individuals in charge who have a shared mission, vision, and passion for the end goal.
Donor’s resources are available for almost any and all uses by the school, as long as they:
1. Meet the donor’s requests
2. Are not used for the personal benefit of the donor
3. And they obviously must meet the approval of the school foundation board which oversees their expenditures.
The only negative here might be the fact that this money is considered “soft” money, as there is no guarantee the money will be available next year…unless of course an endowment is established to fund this position, or the k12 foundation has firmly aligned a group of donors who will continue to support this position for a period of years.
Ideally, all fundraising entities in the school can/should fall under the LEF, EF, SF (K-12 Foundation), since it has the database, backroom accounting operation, end of the year receipting responsibilities and generally benefits the entire school community because of its IRS recognized 501(c)3 status.
Subsequently, in an ideal world, all of the fundraising at the school runs through the foundation, with the foundation board or ED generally lending oversight to who is fundraising with whom, thus coordinating the entire effort.
Who donates, who is asked and for what amounts are all great things to discuss and decide upon ahead of time.....so you are probably acting in a prudent manner, however it is a tricky proposition and takes delicate coordination to make the K-12 foundation work properly. General rules of philanthropy dictate that most donors are not adequately challenged to give, so perhaps the fellow you are referring to may be disappointed if he cannot support this program or he may wish to support both your initiatives and these initiatives....another delicate but not unsolvable situation. Better find out, what he wants to do...he may be disappointed if he can't help out or he may feel overwhelmed with multiple requests. Denying a donor an opportunity to give, even if its not your first priority is discouraging to the donor. Giving the donor the opportunity to choose the recipient of his donation is important, because done well, in time the donor will give more liberally in an unrestricted manner....which is the status or place you want to move donors to...unrestricted giving, thus trusting you to distribute the funds.
And...in answer to your question....yes, funding to the foundation and redistributing to another group is the ideal!
Hope this helps.