Frequently Asked Questions

We are here to help. If your question is not answered below, please reach out.

Starting a Memorial Fund

How quickly can a memorial fund be set up?

Once we receive the signed contract and the startup fee has been paid, we can typically set up accounts in 48 – 72 hours. This includes opening the JP Morgan Chase savings account, building the website, and the ability to accept online donations using Donation Pay.

When is the start-up fee due?

The start up fee $950 is due upon creation of the memorial fund along with the signed contract. The $950 can be reimbursed once the memorial fund has received adequate donations.

Do we mail CHARITYSMITH the fund start-up fee or can we setup the fund first and use donations to pay the cost of establishing the fund?

The start-up fee is due when the memorial fund is created. You may mail a check for the start-up fee to CHARITYSMITH, or you may pay the start-up fee online. Once the memorial fund has been created and donations received, you can be reimbursed for the full amount of $950.

Can I pay the startup fee with a credit card?

Yes – You can use a credit card to pay for your startup fee online here.

Can I pay the startup fee with a credit card NOT using Donation Pay?

Yes – You can use a credit card to pay for your startup fee online here.

Is there any written information on your program?
You should find everything you need on the website. All forms and documents are available here.

Will my loved one’s memorial fund be a separate nonprofit organization?
– Your fund will be a division of CHARITYSMITH. While it will not be a separate nonprofit organization, it will run as a separate fund under your administration and our management. The fund can receive all the benefits of a 501©3 nonprofit.

Would I have any tax filing requirements?
The only thing that you would need to file with your usual tax returns is a receipt for any donation that you make to the fund, or to the fund’s establishment costs. These receipts are provided to you by CHARITYSMITH and allow you to deduct your donations from your taxes.

Other than start-up costs, annual administrative fee, and supplying pictures, are there any other obligations or required activities on the fund administrator’s part?
You supply the pictures, the narrative, and the idea of where you would like funds to go. You are also responsible for fundraising and deciding how to distribute the funds via scholarships and grants. The startup cost and annual administrative fee are tax deductible.

How is the website built?
You pick from one of our two templates and provide us with your text and pictures. Our web designer will work with you to build a custom site that meets all of your needs.

How much is the annual fee?

The annual administrative fee is $725.

Would I have to submit tax returns, or does CharitySmith take care of this?
At CHARITYSMITH, we complete all paperwork for you as part of our 501©3 umbrella. This service is part of the fund establishment fees.

Is there any paperwork that needs to be signed?

Yes there is. We have a contract and two forms that are available to be completed on our website.. These clearly delineate the form and function of our services and agreement.

Are the decisions on how the money is distributed ours to make?
Yes, as long as the fund has a mission of helping others, we are generally amenable with whatever you choose. The one exception is “self-dealing” — we are not allowed to give money to our family members as this is considered a violation of the integrity of the fund per the IRS.

Are there any other fees besides the start-up fee and annual administrative fee?

There are no additional fees unless the fund receives over $14,000 of donations in a 12 month fee. If it does, a 4.3% fee will be charged on all donations in excess of the $14,000. For. For single donations of $10,000 or above, the processing fee is reduced to 2.3%. 

The $14,000 donation limit re-sets when the fund is renewed annually. More information can be found here.

Distributing Scholarships and Grants

What is the process for withdrawing funds for a charitable cause or recipient?

Simply use our online form system to complete the Award Distribution Request form . The form is approved by CHARITYSMITH (to be sure we follow IRS guidelines) and check will be issued within 14 days. The check can be mailed to the fund administrator(s) or directly to the recipient.

How often can the fund administrators distribute awards?
Generally scholarships or distributions are made once or twice a year, however there is no set limit on the amount of distributions that can be made.

Are scholarships awarded directly to the school?
Typically, scholarships are paid directly to the school. This ensures the funds are being used for educational purposes. In certain circumstances, the fund administrator elects to pay money directly to a student for a separate use such as housing, travel expenses, etc.

Can this be set up so that the donations go to a specific organization, for example cancer research, instead of establishing a scholarship fund?
The money can go to cancer research or any other form of research for that matter. That said, the money cannot be given to family, or to employees of CHARITYSMITH.

What is the process for scholarship recipients?
All scholarship recipients should report the award as a scholarship/grant on their annual tax return.

Does CHARITYSMITH require verification on how & where the funds are being used?
Yes. In the case of scholarships and grants being paid directly to a nonprofit or academic institution this is enough. If money is being paid directly to an individual, we will request a written report on how this money will be used. In special (limited) circumstances, we may request receipts so that we can prove to the IRS that money’s were spent in a charitable manner.

Fundraising and Administration

Should donation checks be made out to CHARITYSMITH or to the Memorial Fund itself?
Donation checks should be made out to the memorial fund itself. If they are made out to “CHARITYSMITH” they simply need the name of the fund in the memo portion of the check.

How are donations processed?

Donations are accepted online via Donation Pay and by mail.

Check Donations – Checks are deposited at our office via our remote deposit machine. Once deposited a scanned image of the check will be placed in dropbox. Check donations receive a donation receipt via USPS.

Online Donations – Online donations are processed every two weeks – from the 1st-15th and the 16th to the 31st. Once processed the online donation spreadsheet in dropbox is updated. Online donors receive an email receipt at the time of donation. The fund administrator is also be copied on this receipt.

How are donations processed?

Donations are accepted online via Donation Pay amd by mail. Each donation is processed by CHARITYSMITH, deposited into the bank account associated with the fund, and then entered into our accounting system. We issue a donation receipt to each donor and then send monthly donation reports to fund administrators.

How do I know who has donated?

All funds have individual Dropbox folders and donations are tracked in your deposit folder.

Is my memorial fund account separate from other accounts?

Yes. Each account has its own savings account.

Who opens the Bank Account?

CHARITYSMITH opens and maintains the account.

Can I deposit money into the Memorial Fund bank account directly?

All donations should be routed through the CHARITYSMITH offices either by sending checks to 13100 Filly Lane, Truckee, CA 96161, or by online donation. This enables the accounting office to keep excellent records. If it is a matter of cash donation, or if a deposit is to be made following a fundraiser, please work with staff to support your needs.

Are tickets sold for a fundraiser tax-deductible?

This is decided on a case-by-case basis which we will help you determine. The worksheet we use is available for download on our site.

Can I be reimbursed for fundraising costs?

Yes. All direct fundraising expenses (i.e. venue rental, food expenses, etc.) are reimbursable. The form for reimbursement is available in the online resources for Fund Adminstrators.

When we decide to close the fund, what is the process?

Fund Administrators complete a simple form and CHARITYSMITH disburses any remaining funds. We simply close the bank account after distributing the money. 

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