Fundraiser Awareness: Know Where Your Money is Going

The most important thing to know about contributing to a not-for-profit organization’s fundraiser is to do upfront research. Many fundraiser events and programs exist, so you need to make sure you’re passionate about the cause and that your money will go to legitimate organizations that can actually help solve the problems you care about.

Some so-called charitable and social services organizations are actually for-profit companies that do not provide real help to those in need. Some fundraisers are actually organized by an individual who is looking to keep the money. Unfortunately, scams are everywhere. That’s the sad truth, so buyer beware! Make sure you know where your money is going.

The Autism Society of Indiana (ASI) is a local grassroots organization. When you contribute funds to ASI, your money stays in-state and directly helps Hoosier families affected by autism.

How to Conduct Research About Fundraisers

If you come across a notice about a fundraiser, perhaps on Facebook or another social network, contact the person who posted the notice to ask questions about (1) who is actually organizing the event, (2) which not-for-profit organization will receive the money, and (3) what percentage of the funds raised will actually be donated to that organization.

Also ask if the person can provide you with information that verifies their claims, such as a website, a flyer, or some other type of material about the fundraiser and the organization.

You can verify a legitimate not-for-profit organization’s eligibility to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions by asking to see the IRS letter it has on file that proves it has 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. You can also call the IRS at 877-829-5500 or use its online Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool to verify that status.

Legitimate Autism Organizations

In addition to ASI, many other legitimate local and national autism-related organizations hold fundraisers to help finance their missions. If you want to support one or more organizations that help people deal with the effects of Autism Spectrum Disorders, make sure—before contributing your time and/or money—that you fully understand how an organization provides help and how it spends the funds it raises.

If you’re truly passionate about a cause, it’s easy to be persuaded by what appears to be a legitimate fundraising effort. Instead of making a quick decision to contribute, take the time to perform a little due diligence to ensure your money serves the best purpose possible. A legitimate organization will need your contribution as much tomorrow as it does today.

Your effort to make sure an organization actually serves the purpose to which you’re committed will help your cause more than a slight delay contributing will hurt it. In fact, a slight delay won’t hurt it at all, because if your efforts to determine an organization’s legitimacy indicate it is truly worthy of your contributions, then your passion and support will be that much deeper and stronger.

ASI Fundraising Events

In addition to our own fundraising activities, ASI has several upcoming Third Party fundraising events you can support. We do not organize or run these Third Party events, but we do benefit financially from the efforts other people make on our behalf. Visit our Events page to see which upcoming fundraisers will be in your area.

If you want to organize a fundraising event on behalf of ASI, visit the Hold an Event page, in the Get Involved section of this site, to learn the details about doing that. You can also contact Kelli Higgins, our Community Outreach Ally for more information about Third Party events.

The types of Third Party events that prove to be most effective include restaurants and other businesses that donate a percentage of their revenue brought in during a set period of time, as well as friendly competitions like the annual Aiming for Awareness Benefit and Dart Tournament held in Mishawaka, Indiana. Other competition-based fundraisers that have been held on our behalf include softball tournaments and a high school wrestling tournament.

April is Autism Awareness Month. We organize several fundraising events every year during April, so that is a good time of year to annually refer back to our calendar of events. If you need a reminder to do that, you can quickly and easily subscribe to the ASI Newsletter by submitting the form at the bottom-right corner of this page and every other page on this website.

Also, please feel free at any time to make a donation directly to ASI by visiting our
Make a Donation page. You can reach that page by clicking the red DONATE button at the top of this website. Your donation provides support and guidance at no cost to Indiana families. We very much appreciate any and all contributions that help us meet our mission.

Kelli Higgins, ASI Community Outreach AllyThanks to Kelli Higgins, Autism Society of Indiana State Outreach Manager, for her contribution to this article. If you have any questions, please contact her at or by calling 800-609-8449 x44.

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