- What is the process of becoming a Partner?
- Are there any ongoing fees? What are fiscal sponsorship fees?
- Does Mission.Earth raise funds for a Partner?
- Can Mission.Earth connect Partners with donors or foundations?
- Is there a registration fee to join Mission.Earth or a minimum amount of revenue to raise?
- What if our group lacks a significant operating history?
- How does the flow of money occur once a donation has been received?
- May we contact/collaborate with other Mission.Earth Partners?
- Can Mission.Earth Partners lobby voters or politicians?
- Can we earn a salary doing non-profit work?
- Do we need to form a Board of Directors?
- Are we allowed to hold raffles?
- What if our work involves books, films, videos, etc? Who owns them?
- How are contracts with outside vendors / service providers / individuals handled?
- If I have collected donations and deposited them into my personal bank account, are those donations tax-deductible once we become a Partner?
- Can Partners accept donations from businesses?
- If someone donates his or her time or space (for example, creating my website or giving free office space) can that person receive a tax donation?
- What if my project needs to purchase or lease a product?
- If someone donates a tangible good (like a box of t-shirts) can the donor receive a tax donation?
- Is there a minimum / maximum time a group needs to stay as a Partner?
- Can Mission.Earth help a group get its non-profit status?
- What if I’m not sure my project fits within Mission.Earth’s criteria?
- What if I have more questions?
What is the process of becoming a Partner?
Once you have determined that your project fits Mission.Earth’s structure and mission, please complete an online application.
Once we receive the application, we will email you to confirm receipt and let you know that the application is under review by the review committee. The review committee then carefully reviews each proposal. There may be follow up questions for you to answer in writing. Your project may then be invited to interview with members of our staff. We strive to make a determination on an application within 72 hours.
Are there any ongoing fees? What are fiscal sponsorship fees?
There are no ongoing fees other than fiscal sponsorship fees, which are detailed HERE. This fee is used to maintain the our offices, and pay for such infrastructure costs as salaries, equipment, telephone, etc. and cannot be reduced.
Does Mission.Earth raise funds for the Partner?
All Parters are expected to raise funds to cover their activities, as well as project-related overhead. Mission.Earth is not directly involved in fundraising for Partners as each Partner is independent.
Can Mission.Earth connect Partners with any donors or foundations?
While our donors understand that giving ensures a degree of confidentiality, we may be able to pair donors and foundations with Partners.
Is there a registration fee to join Misson.Earth or a minimum amount of revenue to raise?
Currently it is free to apply to Mission.Earth and there is no activation fee to actually sign on as a Partner. There are also no minimums or maximums.
What if our group lacks a significant operating history?
We are equipped to handle start-up endeavors. As long as you are serious about doing the work, you have a home at Mission.Earth. Partners are expected to raise funds to expand their work and advance the goals of their project.
How does the flow of money occur once a donation has been received?
We process all account receivables and all account payables at least weekly. Donations always need to be sent to the Mission.Earth office, where they are deposited. They can be in the form of checks, credit cards (we accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Diner’s Club only), wires, or stock. Only project-related expenses can be covered with these funds, never personal expenses. If a project does not have adequate funds to cover expenses before checks are deposited, funds will be disbursed only after the checks have cleared.
May we contact / collaborate with other Mission.Earth Partners?
Yes – we hope to create a collaborative community. Contact information for active Partbers is listed on the web site. Feel free to get in touch with any Partner that you feel could help you. We also will hold periodic Live Chats. This is a great opportunity for you to meet other Partners and open conversations on collaboration.
Can Mission.Earth Partners lobby voters or politicians?
Yes, Mission.Earth Partners can spend up to 5% of their annual project budget expenses related to direct lobbying (visiting lawmakers or creation of publications that advocate voting for a particular law or proposition). If your project may need to spend more than 5% then we encourage you to contact us to discuss.
Can we earn a salary doing non-profit work?
Yes, you can pay yourself for doing work for your project. This goes for staff, interns, consultants and contractors. This is perfectly legitimate within non-profit work. However, it is not appropriate for a project’s entire expenses to be directed toward salaries. There are always office and field expenses entailed in carrying on a project.
Do we need to form a Board of Directors?
It is not necessary, as the Mission.Earth Board of Directors becomes the de facto Board for all Mission.Earth Partners. This is due to the fact that every member project is legally a part of Mission.Earth as the fiscal sponsor. Projects do not have a legal identity outside of Mission.Earth. However, all projects are encouraged, though not required, to form an advisory council. This helps in project efficiency, community visibility, and in the ‘spinning off’ process if a Partner decides to leave the partnership with Mission.Earth.
Are we allowed to hold raffles?
Raffle laws vary from state to state, but raffles are mostly illegal (because it is considered a form gambling). In Massachusetts, the only people allowed to run raffles are the employees of non-profits (where the money raised goes to benefit the non-profit’s mission). Mission.Earth must be notified ahead of time of any intent to conduct raffles, as the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has strict rules that must be adhered to. For raffles to be conducted outside of Massachusetts, please contact our staff for specifics per state.
What if our work involves books, films, videos, etc? Who owns them?
This is an important issue, and needs to be understood. Any tangible product or intellectual property (e.g. book, film, video, manuscript) that is produced with funds from the public realm, i.e. via a public charity such as Mission.Earth, is technically owned by the charity. It is strictly a legal issue.
Mission.Earth does not act in a proprietary manner with any project’s assets. There will never be an issue of Mission.Earth exercising creative control over your productions (unless it violates federal or state non-profit guidelines). However, using public funds to create or purchase an asset does restrict how it can be used. When a Partner spins off, all assets created during a Partner’s tenure are granted to the project as long as it goes to another non-profit.
How are contracts with outside vendors / service providers / individuals handled?
Partner are free to negotiate contracts for services rendered by businesses or individuals. However, there is no debt financing allowed in Mission.Earth. When signing a contract for a service, the Partner must have available funds to pay for the service. If a contract for any amount is over and above a group’s normal operating level, our office must first approve it.
If I have collected donations and deposited them into my personal bank account, are those donations tax-deductible once I join Mission.Earth?
No, because in order for a donation to be tax-deductible, it has to be directly deposited into the bank account of a tax-exempt nonprofit like Mission.Earth. However, if you have the checks/cash/money orders in your possession and they have not yet been deposited, the donations will be tax-deductible if they are deposited into Mission.Earth’s bank account.
Can Mission.Earth Partner accept donations from businesses?
Yes. However, Partner must be very careful when advertising the gift by thanking the business for their donation on your website. If the business’ “gift” is ever advertised, the IRS may consider that gift to be a payment for advertising, not a donation. Therefore, that money would be considered “unrelated business taxable income” and subject to tax at the corporation rate. Donations from individuals and foundations are not subject to these regulations.
If someone donates his or her time or space (for example, creating my website or giving free office space) can that person receive a tax donation?
The IRS only recognizes tax-deductions for tangible goods and does not consider time or space tax deductible.
What if my project needs to purchase or lease a product?
In some instances, a group may find it necessary to purchase or lease items for their activities. All such purchases and leases need to be executed by an individual associated with your group, not by the Mission.Earth office. Mission.Earth must not be listed as payee or lessee on any contracts.
If someone donates a tangible good (like a box of t-shirts) can the donor receive a tax donation?
Yes. If a Partner under Mission.Earth received a donated good, known as an in-kind donation, Mission.Earth can give the donor a letter for the donor’s records. Non-profits can only list specific items the donor gives, they cannot assign values to those items. Therefore the letter will read, “We would like to acknowledge your in-kind donation of 40 blue t-shirts.” Please provide detailed information as to the In-Kind donations received when requesting a letter to the donor.
If the donor will be deducting the value of the donation from United States Federal taxes and the value is over US$500, the donor will need to fill out Form 8283 with your next annual tax return. If the value of the US tax-deductible donation is over US$5,000, Mission.Earth will need to sign the Form 8283, according to IRS regulations.
Is there a minimum / maximum time a group needs to stay with Mission.Earth?
A Partner is not required to spend any particular length of time with Mission.Earth. You can begin to seek independent tax-exempt status at any point that you and your advisory council feel ready. Mission.Earth does require an exit interview before spinning off.
Can Mission.Earth help a group get its non-profit status?
A Partner can be part of Mission.Earth while it goes through the process of seeking tax-exempt non-profit status. We have online resources to refer projects to, listed on our website. But for professional assistance, a lawyer specializing in non-profits should be consulted.
What if I’m not sure my project fits within Mission.Earth’s criteria?
If you are still unsure, the best option is to contact us directly.
What if I have more questions?
Many times the best thing to do is to fill out the application and send it in so we can better answer your questions as it relates to your specific project.
Thank you for your interest and for considering becoming one of the Mission.Earth Partners. If you have additional questions, please contact us.