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Gig workers favor direct giving

But those donations might not be tax-deductible. Here's how to tell if yours are.

Chloe Bryan
April 17, 2023
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No items found.

Gig workers favor direct giving

But those donations might not be tax-deductible. Here's how to tell if yours are.

Chloe Bryan
August 17, 2023
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Reviewed by

One task among the many filers face during tax season: figuring out whether their charitable donations are tax-deductible. 

Self-employed workers are an altruistic group — and according to internal data from Keeper, they tend to favor direct giving. To figure this out, we looked at charitable donations to the top organizations favored by Keeper users from the 2022 tax year. Out of 30,563 charitable contributions, 7,028 were to GoFundMe campaigns — a plurality of nearly 23% and the biggest portion by far.

For context, here's the rest of the top 20:

Organization # of contributions Mean contribution amount Mean # of contributions per donor Write-off?
1 GoFundMe 7,028 $ 129.64 1.5 no
2 Aspiration Planted Trees 4,681 $ 0.87 63.3 yes
3 ActBlue 3,129 $ 27.89 4.8 sometimes
4 The Salvation Army 2,240 $ 38.16 2.7 yes
5 1,707 $ 148.53 10.3 yes
6 ASPCA 1,429 $ 45.00 5.9 yes
7 Compassion International 1,365 $ 48.75 8.3 yes
8 SECU Foundation 1,324 $ 1.01 9.7 yes
9 Kickstarter 1,232 $ 114.62 3.1 no
10 Double Good 987 $ 54.08 1.3 yes
11 944 $ 27.91 15.2 yes
12 Scholastic Book Fairs 778 $ 35.42 1.3 yes
13 Habitat for Humanity 546 $ 69.32 1.9 yes
14 PayPal Giving Fund 526 $ 17.88 1.7 yes
15 Sunflower 507 $ 118.21 2.1 yes
16 Save the Children 495 $ 22.99 6.2 yes
17 American Red Cross 481 $ 62.38 3.0 yes
18 WinRed 456 $ 64.15 4.2 no
19 Girl Scouts 413 $ 27.96 1.2 yes
20 Friends of WLRM 295 $ 43.34 1.7 yes

However, there’s one key thing gig workers should remember about donations to GoFundMe and other crowdfunding platforms: They’re not tax-deductible.

Why aren’t GoFundMe donations tax-deductible?

For a donation to count as a tax write-off, it must be given to a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit: a charitable organization that the IRS recognizes as [(tax-exempt) (If an organization is tax-exempt, its income is not subject to federal, state, or local taxes.)]. GoFundMe campaigns usually don’t fall under this category — after all, the proceeds typically go to individuals, not organizations. 

The same applies to virtually every crowdfunding platform, whether it favors personal causes (like GoFundMe or DonorsChoose) or arts and business projects (like Kickstarter and Seed & Spark). Donations to anyone other than a 501(c)(3) can’t be written off at tax time — they’re considered gifts instead.

There is one exception to this rule: funds hosted on, which is a 501(c)(3) charity affiliated with GoFundMe.

This has real implications for freelancers. In our sample, the average non-tax-deductible contribution was $102.80, and the average tax-deductible contribution was $47.61. There's a good chance your donations aren't deductible!

So how can you tell if your donations are tax-deductible?

Before we get caught up in the weeds, you should figure out if you’re going to deduct charitable donations in the first place.

Should you take the standard deduction or itemize your deductions? 

If you’re taking the standard deduction, you won’t be able to take itemized personal deductions at all. Instead, you’ll have to itemize charitable contributions on your [(Schedule A) (Filers report their itemized personal deductions using Schedule A.)] form. For the 2022 tax year, the standard deduction is $12,950 for single filers, $25,900 for joint filers, and $19,400 for heads of household. If all your personal deductions will add up to less than these numbers, it’s probably wisest to take the standard deduction — that’s more money and less work for you!

If you anticipate that your personal deductions will add up to more than the standard deduction, though, itemizing them is likely the best choice. That’s when you’ll need to figure out which of your donations are tax-deductible.

How to use the IRS’s TEOS tool

Luckily, the IRS has a tool you can use to look up tax-exempt charities. It’s called TEOS: Tax-Exempt Organization Search. You can search by [(EIN) (Employer Identification Number)] or name.

The tool isn’t perfect. According to a notice on the IRS website, the agency is “still processing paper-filed 990 series received 2021 and later,” which means some of the organizations that have applied for (or renewed) their tax-exempt status aren’t yet reflected in the database. Still, it’s a useful way to get your answer in most cases.

If not, you should reach out to the organization, explains CPA and author Tim Adams. “The next best option is to request a copy of their 501(c)(3) determination letter received from the IRS,” he says. “You can also contact [your] secretary of state for verification, as most states require charities to register before they can start fundraising.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stop donating to GoFundMes. Don’t let the IRS decide what’s important to you! But you should keep track of which of your donations throughout the year can actually be deducted. That’ll make things a lot easier for you come tax time — and when it comes to taxes, we’re all about keeping it simple. 

Company Contact Country
Alfreds Futterkiste Maria Anders Germany
Centro comercial Moctezuma Francisco Chang Mexico
Ernst Handel Roland Mendel Austria

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Chloe Bryan


Chloe is a staff writer at Keeper and a writer, editor, and journalist. She previously reported on internet culture and lifestyle trends for Mashable, where she also led the shopping section. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing poetry, traveling, watching the Mets, and hanging out with her dog Pete.