Nonprofit Law/Love Offerings


Dear sir
Iím attending a church and we have a situation were one of the members has been in prison for the last 24 months with no definition from the court. His family (wife and 3 children) are members of the church and we want to provide them with a Love offering. I will like to know:
1- If the people from church can write their checks payable to the church and the church can give this lady the total amount collected. None of the checks will make reference to the name of the lady.
2- Can the amounts donated by each member consider tax deductible and added to their regular tithes and offerings?
3- Can a church have a Love offering Fund and distribute the money to members of their congregation based on specific needs? Iím not talking about funds for disasters.

See starting on pdf page 13 as to the discussion of "Charitable Class"
--start of excerpt  ---
The group of individuals that may properly receive assistance from a charitable organization is called a charitable class. A charitable class must be large or indefinite enough that providing aid to members of the class benefits the community as a whole.
--end of excerpt  ---

As church benevolence funds generally go only to members of a small congregation and not to members of the community as a whole, the church's activity of giving funds to its congregation, jeopardizes its exempt status.

Therefore, I suggest that some individuals of the church get together and set up a non-exempt fund for the benefit of the family.  The funds would not be going through the church account.

By the way, even if the funds went through the church account, the donors would not be able to take a charitable deduction for the amounts donated.   They can see, as to charitable deductions, the 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."

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.

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Harvey Mechanic


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.

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