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Fundraising Fundamentals, Section 12.1


The Financial and Legal Implications of International Development Activities

Fundraising is global! This is an advantage for increasing your prospects, especially alumni based overseas, but it can be problematic, given the differing financial and legal frameworks of most countries.

It is important to understand the implications of fundraising overseas by researching the regulations of relevant countries. Not only will you avoid pitfalls, you will also be able to maximise the tax efficiency of your gifts.

The CASE book Across Frontiers: New International Perspectives on Educational Fundraising includes an online appendix that summarises tax deductibility and lists key information sources about cross-border gifts for a range of countries grouped by region. Although the book was published in 2010, the information in the appendix is being updated and supplemented on an ongoing basis. This information can be accessed through the CASE website.

However, this is just one resource available. With the financial and legal landscape of nations changing constantly, it is advisable to look at multiple sources of information and where possible seek local professional assistance in the countries you are targeting.

Donors will expect you to provide them with the correct information and method to make their donations. It is important that you are prompt, knowledgeable and professional in your response.

Action Items
  • Create a policy and procedure for responding to overseas contributions.
  • In partnership with the finance office and institutional leadership, determine if you have an ‘in-house’ expert (e.g., lawyer on your board of trustees) who can serve as a resource regarding overseas contributions.
  • Research regulations and tax implications before making any significant solicitations to overseas prospects.

You Might Also Want to Read:

Volunteer advisory board
Policies and procedures
Working with the finance office
Gift accounting and reporting

Henrik Pompeius, head of development at Stockholm University, talks about how to respond to donor tax questions and make the case for giving.
Pompeius talks about marketing to international students now that many pay fees.