Legal Question in Business Law in California

Accepting Donations For NON non-profits

Is it legal to ask for and accept donations from people for things that are NOT non profits? I specifically want to know if Chipin, a widget that you can put on a website so that people can ''chip in'' for any fund that you choose. People can donate to your rent, your breakfast, a needy family, anything you choose to collect funds for. Is this legal?

Asked on 1/17/09, 3:12 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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Re: Accepting Donations For NON non-profits

Asking for money is legal, as long as you are upfront with the potential donors about what you are doing and what the money will be used for. Don't promise or imply any tax benefits unless you are sure you know what you're talking about.

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1/17/09, 2:57 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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Re: Accepting Donations For NON non-profits

Have you seen beggars and panhandlers along the street? Ever been asked by a hippie for spare change? All examples of legal activity, and no different from Chipin except for the less comfortable venue. It's an exercise of the right of free speech.

Solicitation of donations is watched by the Attorney General for fraudulent schemes, but as long as there is no misrepresentation as to what the money will be used for, or the tax treatment of donations, there's no harm and no foul.

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1/17/09, 4:28 pm

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