Frequently Asked Questions
MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
+ Does GVNG.org really give me my own nonprofit?
While GVNG’s platform allows you to create your own nonprofit program within GVNG.org, you are not creating a separate legal entity. However, because your nonprofit program is internal to GVNG.org, GVNG.org is able to confer upon your program the benefit of its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. With the help of GVNG, GVNG.org will take care of the mountains of paperwork and bureaucratic maneuvering involved in starting a nonprofit program, so you can focus on doing good right away, in just a few clicks.
+ How much will it cost me to use GVNG.org?
All GVNG.org users start out with a free account. Then, based on your ideas and needs for managing your nonprofit project, the price of your plan will vary. Whether you need a simple plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign, or you’re developing a foundation that will hire employees or buy/rent office space, we can help you find a plan with the tools and benefits you need.
+ What if I already have 501(c)(3) status? Can I still use GVNG.org?
Yes. If you already have a 501(c)(3) nonprofit but wish to use GVNG.org for fundraising or other purposes, you can set up an account with us. However, the money and assets you raise through GVNG.org’s platform will be associated with your new GVNG.org nonprofit program only.
If you wish to fundraise through GVNG.org, you can transfer funds raised by your existing nonprofit to your GVNG.org nonprofit program in the form of a grant.
Alternatively, you can always close your existing 501(c)(3) and request to transfer the remaining assets and funds to your new GVNG.org nonprofit program. If you wish to do this, please contact us to request a transfer of assets and funds. Please include your contact information, the name of your organization and all other relevant details in this request. We will be in touch with further questions or instructions. Thanks!
+ Does GVNG.org vet people who work with (or for) my nonprofit program?
Yes. GVNG.org uses GVNG to conduct background checks on everyone who starts a nonprofit program with GVNG.org. GVNG can also be contracted to conduct background checks on organizations and people who interact with your nonprofit program. We review potential volunteers, as well as anyone who receives a payment from a GVNG.org nonprofit program, in order to verify that all of these individuals or businesses are qualified to work with nonprofits in the United States.
+ Can I create a nonprofit project to help a single person or small group?
No. All nonprofits must have a charitable mission broad enough to include an entire cause or charitable class. 501(c)(3)s cannot limit their grants or program services to one person or a very small group of people.
+ Can I use my nonprofit project to support a political candidate or group?
No. All 501(c)(3) organizations are considered public charities and are prohibited from supporting or opposing any candidate for political office.
+ Can I start my church, religious institution, or religious school through GVNG.org?
+ How old do I have to be to start a nonprofit project on GVNG.org?
You must be at least 18 years old to start a nonprofit project on GVNG.org.
+ Can I use my own bank account?
No. You cannot use your own bank account. If any donations are deposited to a personal bank account, it will not be considered tax-deductible and your donors will not be able to claim a charitable contribution on their taxes.
+ How do I receive donations?
People can make donations directly through your nonprofit project’s website, via the “donate” button or through a specific campaign your are running (e.g. crowdfunding campaign). Additionally, you can throw fundraisers and sell tickets on your website directly to your supporters as well.
You can also give money to your own nonprofit by adding money via the dashboard (you will receive a tax deductible receipt for this as well). Depending on which plan you select, your GVNG.org nonprofit program may also be able to receive donations via paper checks.
+ How do I access my funds?
Any and all of your nonprofit project’s finances are accessible through your GVNG.org dashboard. You can accept donations, give money to other charitable organizations and, depending on your package, you can make payments to vendors who help you run your nonprofit’s charitable programs.
+ Can I issue tax receipts to donors?
GVNG.org automatically generates tax receipts to donors for all donations accepted through the GVNG.org platform. Please contact us if you’d like to send receipts for tickets to a fundraising event not sold through the GVNG.org platform, items auctioned at a charitable fundraiser or in-kind donations.
+ Can I get a tax deduction for giving money to my own nonprofit?
Yes. You can give money to your nonprofit project through GVNG.org, and if you are eligible to deduct charitable contributions on your taxes, you can claim the deduction. When you deposit these funds, they will be available for grants and payments within 48 hours.
+ What is my EIN number and where can I find it?
If you would like to use your EIN number, please click here to submit an EIN request and we will get back to you in 48 hours. Please be as detailed as possible with your request and include your contact information so we can reach you if we have any questions.
+ How do I show proof of my 501(c)(3) status?
If you or your donors need to show proof of tax-exempt status in a Letter of Support, pleasecontact us to request this document. Please include your contact information, the name of the organization and all other relevant details in this request. We will be in touch with further questions or instructions.
+ Do I have to use GVNG.org’s website builder, or can I use my own website for my nonprofit?
You can use your own separate website. GVNG.org has a customizable donation widget you can integrate with an existing website. The widget will enable you to accept charitable donations for your nonprofit project on an external site. Just make sure all donations made through your website go through this widget, so that they’re tax-deductible and we can send receipts to your donors. You can still use GVNG.org’s platform to manage and run your nonprofit.
+ Can I start a mailing list?
Of course! People can sign up for your mailing list on your nonprofit project’s website, and you can view and manage your mailing list from your dashboard.
+ Do I need nonprofit consulting services, and if so, how can I access these through GVNG.org?
The short answer is maybe. If you anticipate that your GVNG.org nonprofit program will engage in more complicated programming and/or incur high mission-related expenses, then we definitely recommend signing up for a plan that includes consulting services. Go to the Billing tab of your Settings section to check out what premium services you might need.
+ In the simplest terms, what can (and can’t) I do as a nonprofit project with GVNG.org?
In a nutshell, you can build your own nonprofit website, you can run programs, give grants (i.e., give away money), work with volunteers, hold fundraising events, sell tickets to fundraising events, run crowdfunding campaigns, pay vendors, lease office space, send tax-deductible receipts, buy equipment and hire employees. But it really all depends on the GVNG.org plan you choose. Some plans offer more tools and benefits than others, so it’s important to review all the plans and choose one with the features you need to run your nonprofit project.
Here are two very important things you cannot do as a nonprofit:
(1) You cannot spend or take money for anything that doesn’t support your charitable mission
(2) You cannot pay a private person or company unless they have provided a service or product to your nonprofit project (that’s just common sense). But even then, you cannot pay them more for that product or service than it would normally be worth (also known as Fair Market Value, or FMV).
+ Can GVNG.org sponsor a nonprofit without using GVNG’s software?
Yes of course, if you are interested in become a fiscally sponsored project on GVNG.org then please contact email@example.com and we can discuss this process. You do not need to use the GVNG platform to work with GVNG.org.
FUNDRAISING AND RECEIVING DONATIONS
+ What is the difference between GVNG.org and GoFundMe or CrowdRise?
GoFundMe and CrowdRise are simply crowdfunding platforms that allow people to fundraise and transfer money to other people or organizations. These platforms do not partner with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization like GVNG.org, and therefore are unable to connect charitable groups and individuals with 501(c)(3) organizations like GVNG.org and then help to facilitate the legal, organizational and financial infrastructure to start and help run new nonprofit programs online. Our platform also gives those nonprofits programs a crowdfunding system to power fundraising campaigns, a click-and-build website tool and easy-to-use event ticketing capabilities.
+ Where do donations for my nonprofit program go when they are processed through GVNG.org?
Through a strategic partnership with Bank of America, GVNG manages secure bank accounts that contain donations made to nonprofits programs of GVNG.org using the GVNG platform. This unique banking infrastructure is legally maintained by GVNG, but you will always have 24-hour access to your nonprofit program’s funds, which are ultimately controlled by GVNG.org, via your dashboard. Your dashboard contains all the tools you need to manage and run your GVNG.org nonprofit program. You can view your nonprofit program’s donations and balance of funds on your GVNG dashboard, grant money to other nonprofits, pay expenses related to running your nonprofit and charitable programs, and much more depending on the package your program selects.
+ Can I accept donations from anyone?
You can accept donations from any person, company or other nonprofit that is allowed to spend money in the United States, even from overseas.
+ Can my nonprofit accept donations by check?
If you have a premium plan, your GVNG.org nonprofit program can accept donations by paper checks. Please advise donors to write their prefered email address in the memo section of the check so we can send them a receipt. If you have further questions, your dedicated Philanthropy Account Manager will be able to answer them.
+ What is the fee deducted from each donation?
5 percent is withdrawn from each incoming donation as well as payment processing transaction fees.
+ Will my donors be charged any fees?
GVNG.org doesn’t charge your donors any fees, but our payment processor charges a 2.2 percent fee plus $.30 for each transaction. These will be deducted automatically once the transaction is completed.
+ Is there a limit on how much money I can raise?
Absolutely not! The more you raise, the more you can give. We hope that by leveraging all the tools and expertise GVNG.org offers, you’ll be able to raise all of the funds you need to accomplish your charitable mission.
+ What happens if a donor wants their money back?
All donations to 501(c)(3) organizations must be used for a charitable purpose because they are classified differently than private capital, so donors can’t get refunds. You or your donor can contact ushere if your donor wants GVNG.org to redirect their donation to another 501(c)(3). Please be as detailed as possible with your request and include your contact information so we can reach you if we have any questions.
GRANTMAKING AND SPENDING FUNDS
+ What is the difference between a nonprofit on GVNG.org and a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)?
A DAF severely limits the types of activities the individual or organization operating it can participate in. For example, a DAF can’t run charitable programs, pay private entities (such as a vendor or business), or solicit donations from the general public.
On the GVNG.org platform, nonprofits can do all of these: fundraising, nonprofit-operating, charitable mission-achieving activities (and much more).
Additionally, if users wish to use the GVNG.org platform like a DAF they can do so as well by donating their own funds to their GVNG.org nonprofit program and receiving an instant charitable deduction and tax receipt. Your GVNG.org nonprofit project is not intended to and cannot be operated as a DAF.
+ What can I do with my nonprofit funds?
You can donate money to other 501(c)(3) organizations in the form of grants, you can run charitable programs and pay expenses related to supporting your nonprofit project’s charitable mission, and you can even reimburse yourself for costs associated with running your nonprofit. For more information about defining your charitable mission and ensuring you stay in compliance with IRS rules, clickhere.
+ Can my nonprofit make international grants?
Not at the moment, however, you can give away your nonprofit project’s funds to a domestic 501(c)(3) organization that conducts or funds overseas charitable activities and organizations. By definition, 501(c)(3) organizations are based in the United States, but that doesn’t prevent these organizations from doing or funding great work at an international level. However, you cannot send payments to individuals or companies that are located outside of the U.S. (for now). Stay tuned for this feature coming soon though!
+ Can my GVNG.org nonprofit program write checks?
Your GVNG.org nonprofit program account does not come equipped with personalized checks. However, premium users can pay vendors through the GVNG.org platform and a check will be mailed to the address they provide to GVNG.org.
+ What are the most important rules of running a nonprofit that I need to know?
As a nonprofit on GVNG.org, you are subject to all of the rules applicable to 501(c)(3) organizations. All donations to nonprofits on GVNG.org are strictly for charitable purposes and must be donated to other 501(c)(3)s or used to pay for services or products that help you achieve your nonprofit project’s charitable mission.
Nonprofits cannot give anyone a “private benefit.” This means a person or company cannot profit from any nonprofit. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in immediate termination of your 501(c)(3) status and forfeiture of all of your nonprofit project’s funds on the GVNG.org platform.
However, depending on the GVNG.org plan you choose, funds can be used to pay someone or a company a fair market price for a product or service they provide, as long as the product or service helps your nonprofit project accomplish its charitable goals. Don’t forget that if you are planning to enter into a contract with a person or entity, you’ll need tocontact us to facilitate it. Your signature alone will not validate a binding contract between your nonprofit project and the other party
To learn more about these rules, we suggest you visit theNonprofit University section on GVNG.org.
+ Is my monthly fee tax-deductible?
No. Your monthly fee is not deductible as a charitable contribution. However, if you are a business, your monthly fee may be a tax-deductible business expense.
+ Do I need a Board of Directors?
No. You don’t need your own board of directors. However, you may choose to have an Advisory Board if you wish. Your Advisory Board can informally oversee your programs and operations and give advice and strategic guidance on your nonprofit project programs . All nonprofits created through GVNG.org are overseen by GVNG.org’s Board of Directors.
+ Can I pay myself as an independent contractor or employee of the nonprofit?
Yes—although it depends which GVNG.org plan you use. Because there are strict rules that apply to nonprofits with paid staff, we offer tiered plans that compliment simple or complex organizational infrastructure based on your nonprofit project’s needs.
+ Can I pay my friend for services to my nonprofit?
Depending on the plan you have, you can pay your friends less than or equal to the fair market value for the service or product they provide to you nonprofit. Remember: You must submit your friend’s detailed invoice through the GVNG.org platform to request payment.
+ Can I pay a private, for-profit company for goods and services?
Yes, if you choose a plan with this capability, a nonprofit on GVNG.org can pay private businesses or individuals, as long as the goods or services the payee provides support the nonprofit’s charitable purpose and the amount paid is at or below fair market value. You are also required to submit receipts and/or detailed invoices so that these payments can be reviewed for compliance and processed through the GVNG.org platform. If any payment you intend to make is related to a contractual obligation, you mustcontact us so we can help facilitate your contract.
+ Can I have volunteers?
Yes, volunteers can sign up on your website if you activate the feature in your Settings. Once they sign up, they will be instantly vetted through our background check system. When approved, you will be notified and will see their names and contact details in the Settings section on the GVNG.org platform.
+ Am I authorized to sign off on any type of volunteer community service requirements?
No. GVNG.org is not able to verify the completion of community service hours, and your signature alone does not constitute confirmation.
+ Can I accept in-kind donations?
Yes, but please be prepared to tell GVNG.org what in-kind donations you received before the end of the year.
If you need to report an in-kind donation, please contact ushere. Provide as many details as possible with your request and include your contact information so we can reach you if we have any questions.
In kind donations are defined as goods and services given for charitable purpose, in lieu of giving money. Examples of in-kind goods donations include food, clothing, medicine, furniture and office equipment.
+ Does GVNG.org provide tax receipts for in-kind donations?
GVNG.org will issue a tax receipt to an in-kind donor if the value of the donation is at least $250. However, all in-kind donations must be reported to GVNG.org regardless of value. Please contact us here if you want us to report an in-kind donation or request a receipt.
+ Can my nonprofit project apply for grants?
Yes, as a premium user, you can apply for and accept grants. But, due to IRS and funder requirements, GVNG.org must approve all grant applications and grant reports. You will work with our philanthropic advisory team in order to facilitate the process.
+ Can my GVNG.org nonprofit program host a fundraiser that incorporates a raffle or bingo, poker, blackjack or other games with cash prizes?
Yes, but there are special rules about nonprofits and gaming, so you must contact us here if your GVNG.org nonprofit program wants to host one of these types of fundraisers. Please be as detailed as possible with your request and include your contact information so we can reach you if we have any questions.
+ What happens if I want to auction or sell goods or services?
Your GVNG.org nonprofit program may be able to auction or sell goods or services to raise funds to support your charitable mission. Please contact GVNG.org here to learn more. Please be as detailed as possible with your request and include your contact information so we can reach you if we have any questions.
+ Can I serve alcohol at my event?
If you’d like to serve alcohol at your event, please contact us. We will need to review and approve this and may require you to have additional insurance coverage.
+ Can I run programs, pay vendors or grant money to organizations overseas?
No. At this time, GVNG.org does not support international programming or international payments, but stay tuned for this feature coming soon!
+ What are the hours that I can access consulting services?
GVNG.org’s philanthropy advisory team is available Monday through Friday, between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. PST. However, you are always welcome to send an email, and they will respond within 48 hours.
+ What if I have a nonprofit emergency?
If you have an urgent question, you can get in touch with GVNG.org’s customer service team Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. PST.