A Registered 501(c)3 Public Charity

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of questions and answers with our memorial fund & scholarship faq. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for please contact us at [email protected]

Distributing Scholarships and Grants

What is the process for withdrawing funds for a charitable cause or recipient?
Simply download the Award Distribution Request form and follow the directions at the top of the 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, by mail, or by credit card over the phone. Each donation is processed by CHARITYSMITH, deposited into the Wells Fargo 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?
Yes. Each account has its own savings account at Wells Fargo

Is my memorial fund account separate from other accounts?
Yes. Each account has its own savings account at Wells Fargo

Who opens the Wells Fargo Bank Account?
CHARITYSMITH opens and maintains the account.

Can I deposit money into the Memorial Fund bank account directly?
Unless under special circumstances, no. 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, donations directly to the account can be made with special documentation instructions.

Do most memorial funds have the bank statement sent to the fund administrator?
Absolutely. We are happy to help guide fund administrators through the fundraising process whether they have fundraising experience or not. Be sure to fill out the Fundraiser Worksheet and send this in to our offices to get the process started

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 here.

When we decide to close the fund, what is the process?
We simply close the bank account after distributing the money. The website stays up until you ask CHARITYSMITH to take it down.

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 Wells Fargo 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 $850 is due upon creation of the memorial fund along with the signed contract.

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 email a check for the start-up fee to CHARITYSMITH, or you may pay the start-up fee online.

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 – if you do not wish to use Donation Pay you can pay the startup fee by calling our office (800-276-6546).

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 $604.

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 emailed to you. 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.