Attracting U.S. Donors: A Guide to Establishing a “Friends of” Organization in the United States

Wed, 22 Jan 2014 16:16 PM
Author: Thomson Reuters Foundation and McDermott Will & Emery LLP
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The people of the United States are among the most generous donors to charitable organizations in the world. In 2012, total giving from U.S. citizens was $316.23 billion, a 1.5 percent increase over donations in 2011. Moreover, in contrast with most countries, individual donors in the United States are responsible for nearly 75 percent of total giving.

Despite the country’s generous ethos, because contributions to non-U.S. nonprofit organizations are generally not tax-deductible, U.S. citizens are dissuaded from donating to foreign charitable organizations. Non-U.S. nonprofit organizations desiring to solicit U.S. donors will therefore need to evaluate how best to navigate this reality.

This Guide is intended to provide an overview of the options available to non-U.S. nonprofit organizations seeking donations from U.S. individual donors. The most common issue raised by non-U.S. nonprofits is whether it should form an affiliated corporation in the United States (often referred to as a “friends of” organization), which will be the primary focus of this Guide.

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