You are here:

Nonprofit Law/are donations tax deductible for educational project?


I am to begin a research project in January.  The nonprofit educational center where I will be staying provides housing but I am expected to raise funds to help complete the project which will include:
research, recording, publishing and travel.  Are donations earmarked for this project, made out to the center, tax deductible?  Can any part of them be tax deductible if a certain percentage goes to the center for general use?  Thanks

As to charitable deductions, see IRS Publication 526 "Charitable Donations"  which is available at on page 6 where the IRS lists as not deductible "Contributions to
individuals who are needy or worthy. This includes contributions to a qualified organization if you indicate that your contribution is for a specific person."

However, even though it appears that you are the only worker on the project, as long as the funds would be donated to the 501(c)(3) educational organization and earmarked for the project, the organization may pay for certain expenses of the project, but not give any of the funds to you.  Then donations given to the center that are earmarked for that project would be deductible by the donors.

I am assuming that you personally would not be getting any benefits from the project, and that the 501(c)(3) organization would hold the copyrights for the published work.  Benefits to you would include, for example, if the completion of such a project was one of the requirements for a Ph.D.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

Nonprofit Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]