Fundraising Platforms (especially for mutual aid groups)

Oh definitely. It’s just making sure the IRS doesn’t think it’s income.

you know, I wonder how many people can share an account at an online bank. Like, you can certainly have more than one person on it with joint accounts. I wonder if it’s possible to set up so that multiple people can contribute to the groups savings account, but only authorized can withdraw.


Also I found this breakdown super helpful:


I’ve looked at that! It was definitely super helpful for thinking through what we want, yet unfortunately did not provide the magical, perfect solution (which most likely does not exist, lol).

Thank you! Looking at these links now :blue_heart:

It’s gifts so they shouldn’t be liable.

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@aaronpk has a lot of experience with open collective!


What do US anti money laundering laws look like for this kind of gift to an entity? Here it would be a mess and you’d have to make the entity a thing, and if it isn’t an individual or a non profit then fundraising and gifts get messy- you’d need to prove it each time.

But, based on a John Oliver I saw, could this kind of organization be a church?

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Most of the groups I’ve worked with here aren’t an organization in any legal sense. So all donations are person to person giving.


Which seems like it just means staying under $600 transactions?

The gift limit is $10K a year per person, only taxable to the person who gives


I think the $600 limit is for things that count as income, but the way these apps and systems work often classifies transactions as income that aren’t actually income.

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If @aaronpk has insight on how best to use for groups that aren’t a 501c3 or working with a fiscal host I’d love to hear thoughts/chat more! Private messages is fine if that’s better too :slight_smile:

They used it with a fiscal sponsor as well, I believe but he can speak to that for certain. Previously he was holding the income himself in an LLC and then just writing off all the expenses.

Essentially, the access to payment processing (paying with credit cards/etc) you want without either having to get someone to get a 1099 or form an entity are pretty much not going to happen. You’re either going to need to pay payment processing fees, or do these as P2P transactions and have it show up on someone’s taxes if you’re taking in more than $600 per year. But you can then write off all the business expenses and make it functionally 0 on your taxes. This is true for venmo, zelle, paypal, etc.

This is for a bunch of financial regulation reasons - you can always switch to cash if you wanna stay off the grid.

One possssible option is medical support websites, those are more clearly set up like gifts and could be more straightforward, but they’re still only going to be hooked to one person’s bank account

Question that I ain’t kidding about: any interest in forming a church entity? Because it’s less paperwork than a regular 501c3 and might streamline a lot of stuff.


Yeah Open Collective has 3 main ways you can work with them:

  • As an individual or as your own organization
  • Affiliated with a fiscal host
  • Open Collective themselves are the fiscal host

The group I manage started out as a single-member LLC that I ran, and I dealt with all the taxes and stuff for the contributions (can’t call them donations if it’s not a non-profit!) We later converted to an Open-Collective-managed organization and wrote them a big check with all the money and now it’s all out of my books, which is a lot nicer. Also worth noting that the Open Collective fiscal host is not a 501c3. But you do have to convince them that the work you’re doing is relatively related to them in order to use them as a fiscal host.

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If you form an LLC, there’s a possibility that could make the house-buying and tax-situation more streamlined…

another advantage: get an LLC and an EIN and you can get a business bank account and avoid some of this hoopdedo when members leave

ETA: This is why a bunch of years ago we made an umbrella 501c3 called Umbrella so we’d never have to do this again for our tiny side projects for donations, bookkeeping, and insurance. It has paid off multitudes.


only one bank account with subaccounts on the accounting for every project, one board, but lots of projects.


I think some members of the group have BAD experiences with religion and that wouldn’t be workable for them. I’ll look into it more though.


I had friends who formed a religious organization called Bike Church, I sat on their board on paper, and they did it because they had bad experiences with religion and wanted to stick it to religion.

You have to 1) regularly meet and 2) have sincerely held beliefs. Those beliefs can be mutual aid, helping your neighbors, whatever.

For us, it was that we had drop in bike shop that did free repairs and we believed in the bicycle.


^^Also as a zinester, I did well-concealed cash for years, and never lost some!


One last note on the house buying, if you don’t have 3 years of income from the 1099 income, it won’t be counted towards your total gross income, but it usually wouldn’t be a problem if you don’t want to count it.