Q1. Can we hold "fish bowl" or "pass-the-hat" events to raise money?
A1. Traditional fish bowls and pass-the-hat events are permissable if all contributions of $20 or more during a reporting period are listed individually on the contribution and expenditure report. Contributions of $20 or more must include the name and address of the contributor; contributions of $100 or more must include the name, address, employer and occupation of the contributor. It can be helpful to provide envelopes printed with spaces to enter this information at your event.
Q2. Can we accept anonymous contributions?
A2. No. Anonymous contributions are not permitted under any circumstances.
Q3. What happens if we don't have occupation and employer information from our donors?
A3. If you are required to provide the occupation and employer information for a contribution and fail to do so within 30 days, the contribution must be returned on the 31st day.
Q4. We are having a "meet and greet" event at a private home. Do we have to report food or other items donated for the event?
A4. Yes. These events are treated the same whether they are held in a rented space or someone’s private home. Anything of value given to a committee or party must be reported, even if it is Jane Smith’s lasagna that she brought for attendees to eat while they mingle. The lasagna would be reported as a contribution at the fair market value.
Q5. Do we have to report ticket sales from a fundraising event?
A5. Any amount paid for a ticket to a fundraising event in excess of the value of the meal is considered a contribution to the organization benefitting from the event.
For example, if a ticket to an event is $100 and the cost of the meal is stated to be $25, the purchaser is considered to have made a $75 contribution to the entity hosting the event.
Q6. Do we have to report items donated for silent auctions?
A6. Items donated for silent auctions are non-monetary (in-kind) contributions. The fair market value of goods or services donated count against contributions limits, if applicable, for both the contributor and the recipient committee or party.
When a silent auction item is purchased, the full purchase price is considered a contribution from the purchaser and is reported as a monetary contribution.
Q7. If someone lends us space or equipment, do we have to report it?
A7. The use of a space (room, building, etc.), telephones, office equipment, printed material, or any other good or service lent to a committee or party is considered to be a contribution from the person who owns the good or service. These donations are subject to contribution limits and prohibitions.
For example, the donation of the use of a ballroom at a corporate-owned hotel (whether it is donated outright, or given for use at a reduced rate) is typically prohibited as a corporate contribution. This may be allowed if the company provides a substantially similar reduced rate or free use to other entities in the usual course of its business.
Q8. How do we handle contributions from couples or joint account holders?
A8. Couples and joint account holders must write separate checks for each individual and should note in the "memo" space which person the contribution is from. If no notation is made, the contribution is considered to be from the person signing the check. A couple cannot write one check for an amount in excess of the individual contribution limits with the intent that it be considered to be from two persons.
Q9. Can we use PayPal or similar online services to collect contributions?
A9. PayPal or other payment intermediary services can be used to solicit campaign contributions. Any fee that the service provider changes for transactions is an expenditure if it is paid by the committee.