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Nonprofit Law/Fundraising with Internet sites


I am working on a rewrite of fundraising policy and procedures for the Girl Scouts. We are getting a lot of questions as to can a Girl Scout raise funds through sites like and We want to be sure that the use of these site will not violate our 501 C3 status.
I have a second with regard to earmarking. Can a Girl Scout troop earmark fundraising funds for a Girl Scout(One Girl Scout not troop) Community Service Project without violating 501 C3 law.

I can't go to as my browser gives an error, so you might have given me the wrong URL for that site, but, as for and any other method of asking for money is concerned, as long as they do not imply that the funders will be getting a charitable deduction, then the troop is not involved at all in solicitation of funds - only the individual scout is.  Therefore, the 501(c)(3) troop is not jeopardizing its 501(c)(3) organization status with the IRS if it allows a scout to solicit funds either in person, by email, or listing a solicitation on any web site.

As for the question about "earmarking", that is allowed as long as the individual scout does not obtain any personal benefit from the grant to the funds to her community service project through the earmarking.  But, if the fundraising is for the assistance of an individual who is part of the troop, that is prohibited.  See pdf page 13 of under the heading "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 sufficiently indefinite
enough that the community as a whole, rather than a pre-selected group of people, benefits when a charity provides assistance.
--end of excerpt  ---
More details are found starting at pdf page 6 of

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


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.

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