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  1. #1
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    Default 250/5/250: Real voting w/ your $$$ Update at #13

    Did anyone else hear about the 250/5/250 campaign at Rolex this weekend?

    I can't find the flyer although I'm sure it will turn up when I finish unpacking, but the goal is to get 250 eventers to donate $250 (about the cost of an entry fee) every year for the next 5 years. The money is to be used for safety research. There were three current studies, the speed study (I assume this is Reed's deal) the cardio-pulmonary-aneurysm study (deltawave) and one other that I can't remember. It's through the USEA so it's tax deductible.

    Anybody got more information?
    Last edited by subk; Apr. 29, 2009 at 10:48 PM.



  2. #2
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    Great idea, count me in. Also I think supporting the Professional Riders Organization is important. Organized, the PRO riders can lobby for better safety standards, etc. I'll support USEF and USEA and their efforts all day long. Thanks!



  3. #3
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    subk, do you know if there is any guarantee that our donations will go to these efforts?

    The reason I ask is because on the USEA donation forms, you can donate to 'safety' but the fine print tells you they reserve the right to allocate your money elsewhere.

    As someone who'd like to donate to safety but only with the guarantee that I am donating to safety and not inadvertently to some other program, I emailed the Great Black Hole that is the USEA and asked if there was a way to guarantee donations. Not unsurprisingly (the USEA is nothing if not consistent), I never got a response.

    FWIW, other 501c3s have fundraising campaigns where money is donated specifically for the specified project and not allocated elsewhere without the donor's permission. It's a very common thing, IME.



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post
    As someone who'd like to donate to safety but only with the guarantee that I am donating to safety and not inadvertently to some other program...
    The flyer did request "unrestricted donations," but it was my understanding that the reasoning was that there are now 3 studies and since it's a five year program they want to leave some room to finance yet to be decided studies/research.

    In some sense it's all just a financial shell game for any multi-tasking charitable organization. If you give your dollars to X project then when the budget comes around and money is needed for Y project the they use "someone else's dollars" for Y. But in fact once the money is donated it is the USEA's not yours or someone else. As mr. subk likes to says, "Money is fungible."

    On the other hand I think you can always restrict your donation and if the organization doesn't want to spend your money that way they must give it back--but again the shell game does come into play.



  5. #5
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    I'm in, but would also feel better if the donation were solidly earmarked for the specific purpose.

    Not supporting any Professional Rider's Organization until they show me that they have MY best interests in mind, and at heart. So far, it hasn't happened.
    Click here before you buy.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post
    subk, do you know if there is any guarantee that our donations will go to these efforts?
    When this was discussed at teh open BoG meeting at teh annual meeting, they said there was no guarantee.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    When this was discussed at teh open BoG meeting at teh annual meeting, they said there was no guarantee.
    Bad idea, IMO.

    My SO has a non-profit foundation and serves on the board of several others. His own foundation is very careful to spend money only according to the donors wishes and they also spend a lot of time building strong relationships with their donors. Their donors would no longer be their donors if money earmarked for one project got shifted to another -- especially without asking their permission or even notifying them.

    If you want donors to get involved and feel they belong, you have to give them something back, even if it's just a guarantee that their money's going where they want it to go.



  8. #8
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    I'm in management of an NGO here. Our auditors check to see that we do what we say we will do with our funds, so I wouldn't dare have a 'no guarantees' policy. The Red Cross tried shifting Katrina funds around, and look where that got them.

    Now, a "we are raising X for this purpose and anything beyond that goal may be shifted to related costs", that is common and necessary practice. You can't specifically track every $5 gift or you will spend more on managing than on the project, and you can't change the project budget every week because another $100 trickled in. But you have to keep tabs and announce in a reasonable time frame when you have met the goal, or else find justifiably related expenditures to put the extra funds into.

    It's not that hard to pick an initial budget and stick with it in fundraising. It's also not hard in this electronic age to shift the goals upwards if you meet the initial goal.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    I'm in, but would also feel better if the donation were solidly earmarked for the specific purpose.

    Not supporting any Professional Rider's Organization until they show me that they have MY best interests in mind, and at heart. So far, it hasn't happened.
    My thoughts exactly.



  10. #10
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    Janet or others, were there any reasons given WHY there was no guarantee, or at least guaranteed minimum?



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    On the other hand I think you can always restrict your donation and if the organization doesn't want to spend your money that way they must give it back--but again the shell game does come into play.
    I used to audit NFP financial statements. A registered NFP org must use gifts designated for a purpose by the donor for that purpose only. All permanently/temporarily restricted gifts must be tracked by the recipient. To do otherwise is VERY VERY bad. If an org is large enough, they must file a 990 federal tax return which must agree to their financial records.

    I don't know anything about the USEA campaign, but if a donor gives money and designates it for buying pencils, the org has to use it for that, or turn down the donation. It doesn't matter what bank account it comes from, they have to track the fact that they spent the $100 on pencils. Or if someone gives $10 as a permanently restricted gift whose principal can never be spent, if the org accepts it they must follow the restriction. Disgruntled accountants' revenge: the $25 permanently restricted gift! Not that I've done it, but I've seen it!
    Fear is the rocket sauce.
    Jack Black



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HorsesinHaiti View Post
    Janet or others, were there any reasons given WHY there was no guarantee, or at least guaranteed minimum?
    I think it was because "restricted" gifts create accounting expense/hassle. I got the impression that they would accept restricted gifts if they were large enough, but trying to track exactly how a whole bunch of $250 donations were spent was not effective.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  13. #13
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    I have since found the hand out on the 250/5/250 campaign and concerning restrict/unrestricted donations it says the following: "We are asking for your non-restricted contribution to be applied to these and other programs and activities as determined by the USEA Board of Governors and Officers (Executive Committee). Should you wish to restrict your contribution to other specific programs or activities, please indicate below."

    In the form "below" which is a name/address etc the is a line the says: "I wish to pay___Quarterly ____Semi-Annually___Annually. Restrict contribution to:___________

    The named current studies are the Cardio/Pulmonary, Speed, and Frangible Pin. I was told that the reason for asking for unrestricted donations was so that if a new study was devised in the next five year during the program funds could be allocated.

    The contact is John Sheets, with a phone number and personal e-mail. I'll be happy to send it along to anyone who PMs me as I'm not sure I should post it publicly.

    I think this is a good program and I have faith that my money will be spent on these studies and not some other random USEA program!



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    I have since found the hand out on the 250/5/250 campaign and concerning restrict/unrestricted donations it says the following: "We are asking for your non-restricted contribution to be applied to these and other programs and activities as determined by the USEA Board of Governors and Officers (Executive Committee). Should you wish to restrict your contribution to other specific programs or activities, please indicate below."

    In the form "below" which is a name/address etc the is a line the says: "I wish to pay___Quarterly ____Semi-Annually___Annually. Restrict contribution to:___________

    The named current studies are the Cardio/Pulmonary, Speed, and Frangible Pin. I was told that the reason for asking for unrestricted donations was so that if a new study was devised in the next five year during the program funds could be allocated.

    The contact is John Sheets, with a phone number and personal e-mail. I'll be happy to send it along to anyone who PMs me as I'm not sure I should post it publicly.

    I think this is a good program and I have faith that my money will be spent on these studies and not some other random USEA program!

    OK, this is fairly standard language. Unrestricted funds are always highly sought for plugging budget holes and being available for whatever need arises, so most everyone requests unrestricted. But they give you a chance to restrict your donation to a specific study. If you wanted to support safety studies but allow for funding new ones, you could just write in "safety studies" in the restrict contribution to: line.

    This should be a trustworthy setup, if the auditors are any good.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by HorsesinHaiti View Post
    This should be a trustworthy setup, if the auditors are any good.
    HiH, the USEA does have good auditors, but the setup would still be trustworthy even if it didn't. Rest assured, the Association does honor restrictions placed on charitable contributions by its donors and doesn't need good auditors to make this happen. It happens because it is the right thing to do.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If the Number 2 pencil is so popular, why is it still number 2?



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by canterlope View Post
    HiH, the USEA does have good auditors, but the setup would still be trustworthy even if it didn't. Rest assured, the Association does honor restrictions placed on charitable contributions by its donors and doesn't need good auditors to make this happen. It happens because it is the right thing to do.
    Thanks Canterlope! I'm actually on your side not worrying about end use if this language is in place. Certainly other people are concerned based on having heard somewhat contradictory info, others are a little suspicious. And many of us have seen organizations say they will do this and then not do it, which leaves them with a 'trust, but verify' bent. The auditor comment is just to state that those who want to see verification will have it, because you do have the right legal setup for these gifts.

    A big part of my job is ensuring that OUR organization here uses this type of gift correctly on both the programming side and the finance tracking side, so I have 'internal audit' on the brain! "worried donor" on the brain too, I get to deal with those questoins here.



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