This article is not an exhaustive guide, but can get you started in thinking about your campaign.
Fundraising for Candidates
If you are running as a candidate for office, there are several things you are going to need to look out for when raising money. One, is that there are national and local laws that apply to how, when and how much you can raise. Two, there can be fines and criminal penalties for not following these laws. Three, as a candidate you will be required to supply detailed fundraising records to applicable government authorities.
Remember: It is advised to wait to start collecting money until you have filed the appropriate government paperwork for the election you are participating in and have a campaign bank account set up.
So, to start, here are some things you should do:
- File the legal paperwork to create your campaign entity. This can be local and federal paperwork.
- Once your campaign is official, use your campaign entity to open up a campaign specific bank account.
Once you have these items in place, you can add your bank account information to Sparkswell to start accepting campaign contributions. Once you start accepting donations, you can use can use your Sparkswell donation dashboard to view and download the detailed reports will need to submit to any applicable local and federal government agencies.
Note, if you don’t have your paperwork filed and bank account setup, you can still use Sparkswell. Just make sure you go into your settings menu and deactivate donations. This will remove the donation option from your profile page. When you do have the campaign and bank account setup, then you can add in bank account info and re-enable the donation function.
Fundraising for Causes
Fundraising for causes is typically a lot simpler than raising money for political campaigns. Though not strictly required, it is recommended that you formally incorporate the organization you are raising money for and setting up a corresponding bank account. When you do set up this legal entity, or even if you send the money to a personal account, you will want to look into how to best create your organization. For example, not-for-profits have certain tax benefits but they also have restrictions on how you can use the money raised.
Remember, you will most likely need to pay some taxes on the money you raise, so do not spend all the money you take in. Also, you will probably need to account for the funds you raise on tax returns whether this is an organization you set up for a specific cause or on your own tax returns.