Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

Bright Funds lets you easily and effectively manage your charitable giving. Simply select your favorite causes and nonprofits and begin investing in the world as you want it to be.

Bright Funds is both for individuals and employees at companies. To learn more about the Bright Funds Employee Giving program, visit: www.brightfunds.org.

Simple Management: Keep all your giving in one place to easily track your donations. We make it easy to stay up-to-date on the work of the nonprofits you support and organize your receipts for tax refunds.

Maximum Impact: Bright Funds makes you a smarter donor by bringing free donor planning services typically used only by high net worth individuals. Every dollar you commit to a Fund is going to the most effective organizations serving that cause. Each Fund is built to support a holistic solution to big world challenges, rather than taking a fragmented approach.

We’re thrilled you’re interested in making the world a brighter place by bringing Bright Funds to your company! Please send an email with your name, your company name and email address to support@brightfunds.org and we’ll follow-up with you.

There are two ways to become a Bright Funds member. One is through your company, if your company uses Bright Funds to power their workplace giving programs. If you’d like to learn more about this visit www.brightfunds.org. The other way is by signing up to use the platform as an individual, which is free. You can sign-up at brightfunds.org/login with your email address or your social media account. Please note that we'll never post anything on your social media profiles without your permission.

At this time, we are not adding new nonprofits to our existing Flagship Funds. However, if your nonprofit meets all our criteria (see answer to “How are the nonprofits in each Fund selected” under the “Funds” section) please email nonprofits@brightfunds.org with more information about your nonprofit and a brief explanation of why it meets our selection standards. We’re always considering nonprofits to be included in ad hoc Bright Funds sponsored Funds.

About the Funds

Think of Bright Funds as your broker and your charitable contribution as your investment in a mutual fund. Your Bright Funds “mutual fund” is tailored to your “investment objectives” - the causes you want to support. The same advantages to investing in a mutual fund apply to your charitable contribution: you can contribute to a number of the world’s best nonprofits serving the causes you care about in one simple transaction.

With each contribution to your Bright Funds portfolio, you are investing in a better world through a tax-deductible contribution. In other words, you are making an investment in social good.

Because there’s no stock market for non-profit giving, your return is in the knowledge that your charitable contribution is changing lives, saving resources, and discovering breakthrough technologies. We show you this return in the form of stories from the nonprofits in which you’ve invested your contributions.

Each Fund is a collection of carefully selected nonprofits doing exceptional work to address a big world challenge.

Our Funds are built through in-depth analysis and research so that every donation into a fund supports a holistic solution to a problem or set of global challenges, and each contribution is channeled directly to a diverse group of highly effective nonprofits.

Each Bright Fund is built in three steps:
1) Understanding the cause and the relevant issues
2) Evaluating the types of work addressing the issues
3) Inviting the most effective nonprofits which have the greatest success in tackling the issues

Each Fund contains subcategories, which address the most important aspects of each cause rather than just a single dimension. Each nonprofit is brought into our Funds to create a comprehensive and thorough solution. Our Water Fund, for example, focuses on water’s four major facets: clean water, sanitation, hygiene and infrastructure. These development areas are served by six outstanding nonprofits. A donor’s contribution to the Water Fund supports all facets and all organizations.

Our nonprofit selection process is rigorous and based on the research and reviews of five independent organizations evaluating nonprofits on a different set of metrics:

GiveWell
Charity Navigator
Philanthropedia
Universal Giving
American Institute of Philanthropy

Of the roughly one million nonprofit organizations that operate in the United States alone, we’ve invited less than 50 into our Flagship Funds.

About Bright Funds, Inc.

Bright Funds’ donation processing cost is approximately 5%, which covers applicable costs for transaction services. Please note the transaction fee on Bright Funds may vary by company. Typically, nonprofits spend $.15-$.25 to raise every dollar. We are able to keep costs 300%-400% lower due to our efficient, scalable technology infrastructure.

Bright Funds, Inc. is a for-profit, venture-for-good company. We determined during formation that the best way to have the greatest impact was through bringing like-minded investors to our team rather than relying on grants to build our company. These initial investments allow us access to resources with which we can build an outstanding online platform to connect donors with excellent nonprofits doing real and meaningful work across the world.

Bright Funds Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for which Bright Funds Inc. is a commercial fundraiser. All donations made on Bright Funds are received and receipted through Bright Funds Foundation.

To continue to fulfill our mission of creating a truly delightful and rewarding giving experience for people like yourself, Bright Funds covers its overhead costs by partnering with companies to provide workplace giving programs as well as collecting a fundraising fee from donations to cover the cost of processing payments.

Fees & Costs

Bright Funds is free to use for donors and the maximum cost to a nonprofit for receiving donations from Bright Funds donors is a low transaction fee. Please note the transaction fee on Bright Funds may vary by company. Companies that offer Bright Funds Workplace Giving to employees can choose to cover the processing fees in which case nonprofits are not charged any fee for donations through Bright Funds.

Donors can also choose to cover the processing costs so the entire donation can go to the nonprofit(s).

Bright Funds makes donation disbursements via paper check and ACH transfer to organizations based in the United States. Paper checks may be assessed a fee. When an organization signs up for ACH payments, the organization will not receive a donation check in the mail and no fee will apply. Nonprofits based outside of the US receive funds through wire transfer. Wire transfer fees may apply depending on the nonprofit’s bank.

Nonprofits typically spend 15-30% of each dollar for fundraising (to hire personnel, contact donors, send mailers, plan fundraisers, etc). Bright Funds provides a technology service that is one of the most efficient ways for nonprofits to receive donations while also providing a truly delightful and rewarding giving experience for the donors.

The two reasons for costs are:
1. Card processing merchants and other transaction services that involve applicable fees.
2. Fundraising fees that we use to provide the service, pay our staff, and keep the lights on.

No. No matter where you donate (or make a payment online) there are accompanying costs. Processing credit cards, using PayPal, and developing and hosting technology to accept and distribute payments all have an associated cost. Bright Funds continually strives to lower payment processing costs so that more money can go directly to the cause.

Yes. Bright Funds will give you the option to cover processing costs. It is important to us that donors know exactly where their donation is going, which is why you have the choice as to whether you would like to cover processing costs for nonprofits.

All donations made through the Bright Funds platform are made directly to Bright Funds Foundation, a U.S. public charity (EIN 46-2109112). As a result, all donors will receive a donation receipt from a U.S. charity. Tax-deductibility will depend upon the laws of the country in which the donor resides.

Checks and ACH

The check your organization received is from Bright Funds Foundation for which Bright Funds Inc is the commercial fundraiser. The amount on the check reflects the total amount donated to your organization from all Bright Funds members through both Workplace Giving & Matching programs and our individual giving platform.

Bright Funds makes donation disbursements via paper check and ACH transfer to organizations based in the United States. Paper checks may be assessed a fee. When an organization signs up for ACH payments, the organization will not receive a donation check in the mail and no fee will apply. Nonprofits based outside of the US receive funds through wire transfer. Wire transfer fees may apply depending on the nonprofit’s bank.

Nonprofits will receive donor reports with their disbursements that contain contact information for the donors who have opted into disclosing their information. If you have additional questions about the check you have received or want to sign up for ACH payments, please email nonprofits@brightfunds.org.

Finding Your Nonprofit on Bright Funds

The best way to find an exact match for your organization is to search by Employer Identification Number (EIN). The EIN is unique to each organization. It is also known as the tax id number. You can refer to Guidestar to find the EIN for most organizations in the cases where you don’t have it readily available.

An organization must be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity in order to receive donations from Bright Funds Foundation. Tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charities are listed on a database called the IRS EO Select Check (formerly IRS Publication 78), which is updated monthly.

Bright Funds Foundation determines the eligibility of an organization to receive donations based on whether that organization is listed on the IRS EO Select Check database. If your organization does not meet the IRS criteria to be listed on the database, then Bright Funds Foundation cannot distribute donations to your organization. There are many reasons why your organization may not meet the IRS criteria for appearing on the IRS EO Select Check. Please refer to the Scope of IRS EO Select Check for more details.

Our database is pre-populated with all eligible US-based nonprofits.

Organizations must be listed in the two IRS databases of nonprofits (Publication 78 and the Business Master File) to be eligible to receive donations on Bright Funds. If your organization meets the eligibility criteria and is still not listed on our database, please send us an email at support@brightfunds.org with the EIN and the organization name and we’ll follow-up.

If your company offers international giving on Bright Funds, then you can give to nonprofits located around the world. Simply select your country and search for the nonprofit to find it on our list of pre-vetted nonprofits. Nonprofits based outside of the U.S. must comply with certain vetting requirements in order to be eligible to receive donations through Bright Funds. Questions? Email us at support@brightfunds.org.

A fiscal sponsor is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to help build the capacity of charitable causes and initiatives, which are not formerly registered as tax-exempt charitable organizations.

About your donations

No. Opening and maintaining your Bright Funds account is absolutely free to donors.

We have built the platform with security as a high priority. We use a PCI-certified Service Provider to ensure utmost security for processing credit card transactions. For more information, please refer to this information on Stripe security. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at support@brightfunds.org.

Not yet, but soon. In the near future, you will be able to link your checking account and process payments via ACH. When we enable this service, we'll allow existing and new customers to switch to ACH as soon as they're ready.

Yes. When you click Donate on a nonprofit's Bright Funds profile, simply select 'Recurring.' Once it is set up, you'll be able to manage your recurring donation right from your Bright Funds profile.

All donations made through the Bright Funds platform are made directly to Bright Funds Foundation, a U.S. public charity (EIN 46-2109112). As a result, all donors will receive a donation receipt from a U.S. charity. Tax-deductibility will depend upon the laws of the country in which the donor resides.

Donations to nonprofits in the Certified Bright Funds and nonprofits in our database are received and receipted by Bright Funds Foundation, a nonprofit incorporated in the State of California. Bright Funds Foundation has received its determination letter from the International Revenue Service for tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) and eligibility to receive tax deductible contributions.

To access your Bright Funds contribution history , please log into your account on your dashboard click “My Donations.” Whenever you make a donation on Bright Funds, you will receive a donation confirmation email that serves as your tax acknowledgement letter as well. In addition, we provide you with a “1-click tax report”: a donation report with all the information you need to file your taxes for a refund.

You bet! On the donation check-out page there is a field to include a designation for your donation. This field enables you to earmark your donation towards a specific chapter, group, or fund within a nonprofit.

Distributions to nonprofits are aggregated on a monthly basis and sent to the nonprofit organization on the 15th of the month following the month in which the donation was received. For instance, if you made a donation on November 19th - the donations will be rolled up to each organization and distributed to the nonprofit on December 15th.