Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find what you are looking for? Contact us and we'll get right back to you.

General Questions
What is Bright Funds?

Bright Funds lets you easily and effectively manage your charitable giving. Simply build your customized giving portfolio and contribute to the causes you care about most.

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

Why Bright Funds?

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.

How can I become a Bright Funds member?

It’s free to sign up for Bright Funds. You don’t even have to make a contribution to support outstanding organizations for the causes that you care about.

Sign up here with your email or your social media account (we never post anything on your social profiles without your permission) or first create your own portfolio to join a growing community.

How can I bring Bright Funds to my company?

Visit our Bright Funds Enterprise page
Submit your contact details and we’ll schedule live demo whenever suits you best.

How can my nonprofit become part of a Bright Funds fund?

If your nonprofit meets all our criteria (see answer to “How are the nonprofits in each fund selected” under the “Funds” section) please email team@brightfunds.org with more information about your nonprofit and a brief explanation of why it meets our selection standards.

Will I need a credit card to open an account?

No. You can open your account and customize your Impact Portfolio to your liking before adding any financial information. Only when you are ready to start making one-time or recurring contributions will you need to add a payment source.

Managing Your Portfolio
Can I use my bank account?

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.

Can I make a recurring contribution?

Yes. If you have already made a contribution, schedule automatic donations by visiting your profile and clicking “Edit Account” . If you have not yet made a contribution, go to your account, update your payment information, and select “recurring contribution”.

Is my donation with Bright Funds tax deductible?

All charitable contributions through Bright Funds are 100% tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law and go to our nonprofit affiliates, which are all organized as 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

Donations to charities in the Certified Bright Funds
Donations to the Education Fund, Environment Fund, Health Fund, Human Rights Fund, Poverty Fund, and Water Fund are received and receipted by the individual 501(c)(3) charities in each respective Fund.

Donations to other charities
Donations to individual charities that are not part of the Certified Bright Funds 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 Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) and eligibility to receive tax-deductible contributions.

Where do I find my donation receipt?

To access your Bright Funds contribution receipt, log into your account and click “contribution history.” We provide you with “1-click tax reporting”: a receipt with all the information you need to file your taxes for a refund. These receipts are available at the time of your donation, and can be accessed at any time from your Bright Funds account.

How can I customize my portfolio?

1.Select which funds you want to include in your portfolio
2.Adjust your how much you want to allocate to each fund
3.Remove any funds or individual organizations from your fund

Does joining Bright Funds cost anything?

Opening and maintaining your Bright Funds account is absolutely free to donors.

Is my donation secure?

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 on support@brightfunds.org.

Can I specify how I want the organizations to use my contribution?

No – use of funds is at the discretion of each nonprofit.

How often are donations distributed to nonprofits?

Distributions to nonprofits in our Funds are aggregated and sent weekly.

Donations designated for nonprofits not in our Funds are aggregated and distributed by the Bright Funds Foundation once per month, as long as the the aggregate amount payable to the intended recipient charity meets or exceeds five dollars ($5).

About the Funds
How is Bright Funds like a mutual fund?

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.

What is a Bright Funds “Fund”?

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

How do the funds work?

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.

How are the nonprofits in each fund selected?

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 initial funds.

About Bright Funds, Inc.
How does Bright Funds make money?

Bright Funds partners with the nonprofits in our funds as part of their fundraising teams. Each organization in our funds pays us a small fee out of their marketing and development budget, which helps the nonprofit cut down on fundraising costs and enables us to build out our technology.

Our fundraising fee for the nonprofits is 7.5% of each donation we process --less than half the standard cost of fundraising. Out this 7.5%, Bright Funds pays all administrative and credit card fees.

Typically, nonprofits spend $.15-$.25 to raise every dollar. We are able to keep costs 200%-300% lower due to our efficient, scalable technology infrastructure.

What is Bright Funds’ legal status?

Bright Funds is officially registered as a Commercial Fundraiser in the State of California (CA Registration: FP0002395).

We work with outstanding legal teams at both Goodwin Procter and Copilevitz and Canter, two of the most respected law firms in the country.

Is Bright Funds a nonprofit?

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.

We operate with 100% transparency, from donor to nonprofit.

How is Bright Funds a sustainable social enterprise?

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.

Checks
I just received a check from Bright Funds. What information about the donor can I learn?

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

At this point, we do not disclose information about individual donors to nonprofit recipients due to the privacy policies of our corporate partners. However, we are building out the capability for donors to request direct donor acknowledgement from nonprofits and will include a donor report when the feature is live.

Fees & Costs
What are the fees when donating to nonprofits on Bright Funds?

Bright Funds is free to use for donors and the maximum cost to a nonprofit for receiving donations from Bright Funds donors is 7.5¢ for every $1. 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).

Why are there processing costs?

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 reason for costs are:
1. Card processing merchants and other transaction services that cost us approx. 2.9% + 30 cents for every transaction.
2. Fundraising fee that use to provide the service, pay our staff and keep the lights on.

Are these fees unique to Bright Funds?

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.

Can I pay the processing fees so that nonprofits get my entire donation?

Yes, you are given the option to cover processing costs so that 100% of your donation will go to the nonprofit(s). 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.

Are my donations on Bright Funds tax-deductible?

With Bright Funds, we ensure that your donation is completely tax-deductible by incorporating the payment processing and fundraising fee into the contribution made to the nonprofit(s). Even when you cover the processing costs, your entire donation is tax-deductible.