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Frequently asked questions

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Questions about Mercy Corps
Questions about Online Fundraising
Questions about Hosting a Special Event

Questions about Mercy Corps

Q. Who is Mercy Corps?
A: Glad you asked! Mercy Corps is a leading global humanitarian agency saving and improving lives in the world’s toughest places. Poverty. Conflict. Disaster. In more than 40 countries, we partner with local people to put bold ideas into action, help them overcome adversity, and build stronger communities. Now, and for the future.

Q. What percentage of my gift goes directly to programs?
A. Over the last 5 years, Mercy Corps has used 88 percent of our resources for programs that help people in need.

Charity Navigator rates Mercy Corps with four out of four stars, and we meet all 20 Better Business Bureau standards for charity accountability. For detailed information about how donations are used, view our Financial Information page.

Q. Where does Mercy Corps work?
A. Our headquarters is in Portland, Oregon. We also have US satellite offices in Cambridge, MA and Washington, D.C. We also have a European headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland. Other offices exist in the 42 countries where we have programs. Since our founding in 1979, we have worked in 114 countries.

Q. Does Mercy Corps only respond to disasters?
A. When there’s a disaster we provide emergency relief—then we stay to help rebuild. We help when people are struggling with poverty, hunger and conflict. We help people turn a crisis into an opportunity, listening to local people and helping them find long-term solutions that work in their communities.

Q. Is Mercy Corps a religious or faith-based organization?
A. No. Mercy Corps is a nonsectarian organization, and not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group. As a humanitarian organization, we strive to be sensitive to local logic, traditions, customs and cultures.

Q. What’s the best way I can help?
A. Monetary donations are the most effective way to provide assistance. Mercy Corps uses cash donations to purchase needed items locally, which gives the local economy a boost, cuts down on high transportation costs and is the quickest way to bring aid to those who need it most.

If you're interested in helping, we invite you to create a personal fundraising page. We give you a customizable webpage you can share with friends, family and peers to accept credit card donations and fundraise to a goal you determine. If you haven’t already, it’s easy to register and create a page to help the courageous people living in the world’s toughest places.

Q. Does Mercy Corps accept material gifts, such as blankets, toiletries and other non-monetary items?
A. In general, Mercy Corps does not accept donated materials from the public, especially in times of emergency, because of the relatively high cost and difficulty of sorting, shipping, storing, and importing the goods. Mercy Corps does consider donations of brand-new product in relatively large quantity — but only if it meets a specified and strategic need. Typically, those donations come from corporate or institutional sources.

Questions about Online Fundraising

Q. What is an online fundraising campaign?
A. Our online fundraising pages serve as your personal hub for raising funds and awareness for Mercy Corps. You choose your cause and our site gives you a personal URL you customize and share. You can name your campaign after yourself, group or organization, and send the fundraising page link out to your community. You can also choose whether donors’ names and gifts are displayed, email contributors, suggest a gift size, upload an image and more!

Register online to get started. It's easy!

Q. What happens when I'm ready to register?
A. It just takes a few minutes to get started. Choose the cause you most want to support. Then set a goal to show visitors how much you’d like to collect. Be ambitious, but realistic. During the registration process, tell us a little about you and then customize what your page will say about why helping is important to you. You can always edit this later.

When you’re done, you will land on your newly created fundraising page! You can make further edits by opening the "Edit" tab. Send the link to your friends and family by email or social media. If you have any technical difficulties or questions during the registration process, let us know!

Q. How do I promote my fundraising campaign? Do you have a logo I could use or flyers?
A. Take a look at our "Online fundraising tips" for helpful ideas on spreading the word about your campaign and asking for support.

Mercy Corps also has downloadable logos, fact sheets, videos, presentations, donation collection tools and more! Visit Materials and messages in our Fundraiser's Toolkit.

Q. How do people (including myself) find my fundraising campaign on Mercy Corps’ website?
A. If you’d like for friends to be able to find your page without knowing the URL, they can search for your user name from any page on www.mercycorps.org. (This is really handy when you bring up the fact that you’re fundraising and not near a computer to share the link!) Just ask them to look for the “search” box near the footer of the page. This also works well for yourself if you’re logged in to the site.

If you aren’t logged in, go to mercycorps.org/fundraising and click on "Already a fundraiser? Log in". You’ll be taken to your profile where you can edit or view your active fundraising campaigns.

Q. I forgot my password. What should I do?
A. No problem! Once on mercycorps.org/fundraising, click "Already a fundraiser? Log in.", and open the "Request New Password" tab. Enter your email address or username, complete the word verification and check your email inbox for a message containing your new, temporary password!

Q. How do I change the name/title of my fundraising campaign?
A. After logging in on mercycorps.org/fundraising, click on the campaign listed on your user page and open the "Edit" tab. The first field is "Title" where you can change the name of your campaign. This will update the headline on your page.

Please note that if you want to change the cause you are fundraising for, you’ll have to set up a separate page. Most simply, this is because the templates for each page are different, so when you choose one of the causes we list, a page is created with information and photos relevant to that cause. Also, this tells us where to direct the funds you raise, and we want to be sure that you and your friends are creating change where you think it’s most important. We’re very happy to help you if you need help, just email us!

Q. Can I see the list of people who have donated to my fundraising campaign so I can thank them?
A. Yes — and you can send them a customized email right from your fundraising page! This is one of the most important steps when you’re trying to reach a goal. Everybody loves to hear thank you! It lets the donor know you’re aware of their gift, and makes them feel good about chipping in. Another great idea is to thank them on social media, to show gratitude publicly with the added benefit of drawing attention to your cause.
After logging on, click the "Fundraising Results" tab on your fundraising page to see who to thank.

Q. Will my supporters receive tax receipts for their donations?
A. Absolutely! Mercy Corps can provide tax receipts for cash, check and credit card donations to donors we have name and address information for. For offline gifts, we’ll send out tax receipts through the mail 1-2 weeks after we’ve received the donation at our offices. If you are sending in a check which represents multiple gifts (cash, for example), use our Fundraising Tracking Form (PDF or Excel file). More information can be found on our Handling donations page.

Please note that if you are using part of people’s donations to cover event expenses, they must be informed in advance that their tax receipt will only reflect the amount Mercy Corps receives.

Q. How do I get donations that I collect offline counted toward my total?
A. You’ll find that some people might prefer giving you a check instead of contributing online. That’s great! You can still add that gift to your page and show the progress towards your goal. Check and cash donations are especially common if you’re hosting a raffle, auction or even a dinner party to boost your fundraising. (See more about events like this below.)

When you receive check donations, log on, click on your campaign from your user page and open the "Edit" tab. Fill in the "Amount raised offline" field and hit "Save."
All donations must then be sent to Mercy Corps along with our Fundraising Tracking Form (PDF or Excel file). For details about handling offline donations, see our Fundraiser’s Toolkit

Q. What if I don't want to be contacted by Mercy Corps after I register?
A. You always have the option to opt out of our communications, as do donors to your fundraiser, by calling 1-888-842-0842 or emailing donorservices@mercycorps.org.

Questions about Hosting a Special Event

Q. Can a Mercy Corps representative attend my event?
A. We can’t guarantee a representative, but we are often able to attend events near our Headquarters in Portland and surrounding areas. You can request a Mercy Corps representative by completing and submitting the Mercy Corps representative request form. Please keep the following in mind:

  • Generally, we need 5 days or more to successfully arrange a visit.
  • Representatives can accept donations from attendees, but can’t handle other types of purchases (such as raffle ticket sales).

Q. What will Mercy Corps do to promote or publicize my fundraiser?
A. As a tax-exempt organization, we adhere to the Better Business Bureau standards for charity accountability. This means Mercy Corps cannot engage in activities which may be viewed as “advertising” an event, product or service — even if the proceeds benefit our programs. We are unable to share or use our emails lists to promote fundraisers.

However, we have provided a number of tools to help you promote your event to your community, including social media and email tools to help you promote your efforts online, and even reach out to your local media. Don't miss these tools in the Materials and messages page.

Q. Can I hold a raffle or auction for Mercy Corps?
A. Laws regarding events or appeals that involve gambling differ from state to state. It is your responsibility to ensure that the event complies with state laws. Tickets purchased for gambling activities are not tax-deductible.

Please note that Mercy Corps cannot provide tax-receipts for in-kind donations to your auction event, but we can send a letter of acknowledgement on official letterhead.

Q. Can I sell an item or service to benefit Mercy Corps?
A. Yes! Businesses, nonprofits and individuals alike are selling items and services for a good cause by donating the proceeds. “Cause marketing” partnerships generate much needed funds for our programs. In order to maintain positive and compliant cause marketing relationships, Mercy Corps follows Better Business Bureau standards and state laws. Please read our Cause Marketing Guidelines carefully.

Q. Will event sponsors or vendors receive tax receipts for their donations?
Mercy Corps cannot provide tax receipts for donations to your event. This is because these contributions are being made to you for your fundraising effort, and not directly to Mercy Corps. Instead, you can boost their image and thank them for their support with businesses promotion opportunities such as a shout-out in your newsletter, on your fundraising page or on event fliers, or on social media. At your request, Mercy Corps can send a letter of acknowledgement on official letterhead.

Q. My fundraising event has ended. Where and how do I send in my donations?
A. Thank you so much for fundraising for Mercy Corps! Please provide us a bit more information about you and your fundraiser by registering. To turn in donations, please review our Handling Donations page, and always use our Fundraising Tracking Form to submit donations.

Still have questions? Please send an email to Mercy Corps Community Fundraising Team.