Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions
What is Bright Funds?

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:

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 bring Bright Funds to my company?

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 and we’ll follow-up with you.

How can I become a Bright Funds member?

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 The other way is by signing up to use the platform as an individual, which is free. You can sign-up at 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.

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

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 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
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:

Charity Navigator
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?

Our donation processing fee is 4.5% , and the credit card processing fee is 2.9%, totaling 7.5%–less than half the standard cost of fundraising. 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 Inc. is officially registered as a Commercial Fundraiser in the State of California (CA Registration: FP0002395).

Bright Funds Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of California.

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.

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.

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.

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 amount donated to your organization from all Bright Funds members through both Workplace Giving & Matching programs and our individual giving platform.

We have recently built out the capability for donors to opt in to disclose their contact information to nonprofits. Nonprofits will receive donor reports with their disbursement that contains contact information for the donors who have opted into disclosing their information. If you have additional questions about the check you have received please feel free to email

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.

About your donations
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 at

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.

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) public nonprofits.

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.

Where do I find my donation receipt?

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 can serve 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.

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

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.

How often are donations distributed to nonprofits?

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.

Finding Your Nonprofit on Bright Funds
When I run a search on Bright Funds for my favorite organization multiple organization records appear, how can I find the one that want?

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.

Why is my organization not eligible to receive donations through Bright Funds?

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 can not 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.

Can a U.S.-based nonprofit organization be added to your database?

Our database is pre-populated with eligible US-based nonprofits. The eligibility criteria include:

1) The organization must be a 501(c)(3) public charity that’s listed on the IRS publication 78 database
2) The organization must also be listed on the IRS Business Master File

If your organization meets the eligibility criteria and is still not listed on our database - please send us an email at with the EIN and the organization name and we’ll follow-up.

What if I want to donate to a religious organization, but it is not listed on your database?

Bright Funds automatically list all organizations that are recognized by the IRS as 501(c)(3) public charities. Religious organizations receive a blanket tax exempt status by the IRS, meaning they are eligible to receive tax deductible donations, but are not required to file taxes in the same way that other 501(c)(3) organizations are required to do.

Since religious organizations are exempt from a formal process of filing taxes on an annual basis, we must rely on external data to authenticate a religious organization and determine if we can distribute donations to them.

Our current authentication process for religious organizations consists of identifying an affiliated organization (that is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity). This affiliated organization must agree to serve as a conduit to accept and re-distribute donations on behalf of the religious organization. Some affiliated organizations include Archdioceses or Dioceses.