You are here:

Nonprofit Law/donations for mission trips


just trying to make sure we are following the law!! So I understand that donations designated to an individual are not tax deductable. If there is a statement that states the ministry has ultimate control and discretion can it then be suggested for an individual. Example: as required by the IRS for tax deductible status, donations may be recommended for an individual's tip expenses with the understanding that the ministry has full and complete control over the use of the donated funds.

thanks so much

If the mission almost always accepts the suggestion then practically it is the same as the individual donor requiring the funds to to an individual.  Therefore, in that case, it would not be deductible as a charitable donation by the donor, either.  But, otherwise, a suggestion is fine. See the IRS Memo "Donor Control" at
starting on the third pdf page where the IRS gives a listing of the factors it would look at to determine whether an organization that has substantial donor control would be able to obtain and maintain a 501(c)(3) organization status (and, therefore, allow the donors to deduct their donations from their taxable income on their federal tax returns).

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.