Frequently Asked Questions
Can I have a copy of the CAF's IRS Determination Letter?
Please contact the Development Office to receive a copy of the Determination Letter.
Can I say that my unit/squadron/wing is a 501(c)(3)?
No, because individual units are not legally 501(c)(3)s. The CAF is a 501(c)(3), which is made up of a nationwide network of units. Instead, say something like "The XYZ Unit is a part of the Commemorative Air Force, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization."
Can I tell donors that their contributions are tax deductible?
Yes, but is important to clarify to donors that their contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Ultimately, any contribution's ability to be tax deductible is dependent on the individual donor's specific circumstance. This is especially important to clarify if your unit is holding a fundraising event.
How can I know if other units near me are fundraising at the same time that I am?
The Development Office assumes that all units fund raise every year and, CAF HQ also undertakes fundraising activities that benefit the entire organization. As a result, HQ is not always familiar with the various activities that happen at the unit level. The best way to learn more about other units’ fundraising activities is to reach out to them directly or check their website (if applicable).
Who at HQ coordinates fundraising campaigns among neighboring units to ensure that there are not conflicting fundraising activities?
Due to the entrepreneurial nature of the units and the limited staffing capacity at HQ, there currently is not a specific role dedicated to managing unit fundraising activities. This is an ongoing concern and the Development Office would like to hear from you with any solutions you might like to suggest.
Can I establish a protected territory around my community to ensure that other units are not fundraising in my donor pool?
At this time, the CAF does not allow protected territories among units. While sharing donor pools can be challenging, especially for units that are in close proximity to one another, HQ currently does not have a way to manage territorial lines. We encourage you to maintain open communication with other units in your area.
Can I have a list of active CAF donors in my area?
HQ is not able to share donor names with individual units due to privacy constraints. Additionally, releasing donor names to individual units from fundraising activities managed at the national level could lead to over-solicitation of donors should multiple units pursue the same donors. We encourage you to strategically stay in contact with donors and those who express interest in your unit’s activities directly. These individuals have specifically identified themselves to your unit by attending a local event, donating directly to your unit or have reached out to your unit directly in some way. Your successful stewardship of these individuals will positively affect your fundraising success.
Can HQ provide a list of non-profit foundations in our area that are known to support aviation history/WWII air power/education/etc?
At this time, HQ does not have foundation lists for unit-specific communities. A good starting point is your local library, which often has grant/foundation software available for no charge that you can use to search your geographic area. For more information about finding foundations, visit the Prospecting page under Fundraising Basics.
I have a contact at a national organization/corporation/foundation. Can I ask them fund my project?
Building a strong relationship with a national organization/corporation/foundation can create a benefit for both a local unit, as well as the CAF as a whole. With the entrepreneurial nature of the units, sometimes located in close proximity to one another, combined with fundraising projects, there is increasing possibility for multiple and conflicting requests to the same organization/corporation/foundation. These conflicting submissions create confusion with the potential funders, will not be beneficial long term, and could potentially affect the success of an individual unit's request.
One goal of the Development Office is to create a donor-centric fundraising approach and functional fundraising model for the CAF, including all units across the organization. As a result, units are highly encouraged to reach out to the Development Office to discuss fundraising projects that may appeal to national organizations/corporations/foundations. This open communication will prevent inadvertent conflicting submissions and provide guidance from experienced fundraising professionals.
Please remember that national corporations are not the same as local franchises. We encourage all units to work with local franchises (i.e., the local Pizza Hut or Ford dealer might be a great sponsor for your local event.)
Can I solicit funds outside of my local community?
According to the Unit Manual, Section 2, Part A, Subsection 5, Paragraph j, "Units will not solicit funds, solely for the Unit's use, outside its immediate area." If you believe you have a unique relationship outside your local community, please contact the Development Office to discuss potential solicitations.
Is there a limit on the size of grant that my unit can solicit?
According to the Unit Manual, Section 9, Part B, Subsection 11, Paragraph a, "Units may seek funding from local foundations to a maximum of $10,000. For amounts $10,000 and above, first discuss your grant request with CAF HQ." Please contact the Development Office with any details regarding specific grant requests.
What is the best way to be successful in fundraising?
When fundraising, it is always important to ensure that you are approaching potential funders from a donor-centric perspective. This means that you are identifying what specifically interests individual donors and then engaging them based on what you know. For example, some donors want to support educational initiatives while others are interested in a building/hangar projects, and others are interested in a specific aircraft. If you can find a way to connect with an individual's interest, the likelihood of success improves; this also provides better stewardship of the relationship moving forward.
What are ways for me to identify potential donors?
The personal network of each current member is often one of your best sources. Additionally, look for opportunities to be supportive of other organizations within your community. Does your local library host events? Ask if you can be a guest speaker. Can you collaborate with another local organization to the mutual benefit of all? Always capture information (names, email, phone, U.S. mail address) of those who attend a unit activity, such as a hangar dance, hops and props, monthly meeting, etc. Strategically stay in contact with these individuals throughout the year (add to your newsletter list, invite to other activities, invite to volunteer, etc.) A key success factor is fundraising is building a genuine personal relationships with those who express interest in your unit’s activities.
Are there specific marketing guidelines in regards to fundraising?
Yes! For more information, please review the CAF Standards Guide on the Resources page under Organizational Documents.