Donations

Each Service Platoon will have a baseline budget of $7,000 per year to spend on service platoon activities ($5,000 towards projects and $2,000 towards social activities). 

There is no expectation that Platoons need to raise money beyond that. If you chose to do so, it should occur in coordination with your other platoon responsibilities.  

A Service Platoon can choose to raise up to $5,000 specific to their platoon and spend the amount raised beyond their baseline budget of $7,000 (A total possible budget is $12,000. $7,000 + $5,000 raised by the platoon for a maximum total of $12,000).  Platoons need to raise the extra before they spend it (don’t spend the first $7K ahead 

No limit on securing in-kind support for your projects, but in-kind contributions should be treated as gifts to the organization benefitting from the project, unless they are supplies that you will retain and re-use.  

Money raised for the incremental platoon budget should be money from new donors, not current donors to The Mission Continues.

Local fundraising should focus on local small businesses, individuals (friends/family of Platoon members; community members), and community organizations (e.g. Chamber of Commerce). 

The Mission Continues is working to enlist a Lead Sponsor for each Service Platoon, as well as Contributing Sponsors.  We will ask you to plan/do one dedicated service project/activity with the Lead Sponsor, and one other with the full set of corporate sponsors.  The Regional Platoon Team and the Development Team will help you to plan these.  

Service Platoon Sponsorship funding will cover the baseline Platoon costs and help to pay for everything we are investing as an organization to establish and grow Service Platoons.  

Executive Directors and the Development Team will manage the partnerships on an organizational level, including you in the relationship.  We are excited for you to benefit from and enjoy these relationships.  We are hopeful that corporate partners will be terrific resources for the platoons, including as volunteers, for job networking, as mentors, and with access to fun opportunities.  

Remember:

  • Cash and checks are acceptable forms of payment for donations. 
  • The Mission Continues CANNOT accept credit card donations directed towards a platoon without prior approval from the Development team.  
  • Cash – If you receive cash donations, convert them to a money order or a cashier’s check. 
  • Checks – Checks should be made payable to The Mission Continues. Platoon designations go in the memo line. If a donor wants to mail a check directly to The Mission Continues, that is fine as well, but they MUST indicate the platoon designation in the memo line of the check, i.e. 1st Platoon D.C. 
  • The Mission Continues will issue tax receipts for any cash or check donations made to your platoon, provided that a Service Platoon Donation Form is filled out.  Platoon Leaders/Members cannot issue tax receipts or any official-looking acknowledgement letters.  
  • Hand-written thank you notes and emails are great for you to send.  

For any donations (cash, check, or in-kind):
  • Be sure to send them in as soon as possible.
  • Contact the Development team to let them know about a donation/possible donation.
  • Fill out the appropriate donation form.
  • Mail it to The Mission Continues at 1141 South 7th Street, St. Louis, MO 63104.
  • Send an email to Amanda Mahurin at amahurin@missioncontinues.org and copy your Regional Platoon Team
  • Be sure to include the number of donations and the dollar amount that will be mailed in.

NOTE: formal grant applications or contracts should NEVER be completed or signed by a Platoon Leader or Member.

Fundraising Policies & Procedures – Service Platoons


These policies reflect our desire to help as many veterans as possible to make an impact on their home
communities. We want to build the financial sustainability and strong reputation of The Mission
Continues—growing and sharing our staff and financial resources across increasing numbers of Service
Platoons—while empowering Service Platoons to leverage local resources as part of their impact. We
admire the ambitions that Platoon Leaders and Squad Leaders have for their Service Platoons and want to foster that vision and leadership. At the same time, we want to manage relationships with partners and funders with excellence—so that they continue to support our shared work for a very long time.

Background


We crafted our Service Platoons budget/fundraising parameters around these sustainability priorities:

  • Ensure Service Platoons are a meaningful experience for Platoon Members: Provide enough of a budget to really do something, but leave room for Platoon Leaders and Members to engage the community in rallying resources around projects.
  • Scalability: We want to keep Service Platoon costs low enough that we can maximize the number of Platoons we support with core Mission Continues funds. We want to make sure we are able to reach the most veterans. This also creates a virtuous cycle—funders are actually more likely to invest if their funding reaches more people. 
  • Equity, balanced with reward for entrepreneurial leadership: Some Platoon Leaders/Squad Leaders will enjoy raising funds for their Platoon projects more than others. We seek for platoon members to have similar experiences, whether or not their platoon raises extra money.
  • Sound financial practices: If funding is going to support the project partner (most likely another non-profit), then that nonprofit should technically receive the gifts (in-kind or sometimes cash) and issue the tax-deductibility receipts to the donors.

Given those priorities, we created these parameters for Service Platoon fundraising/budgets:
  • Each Service Platoon will have a baseline budget of $7,000 provided by The Mission Continues per year to spend on service platoon activities ($5,000 towards projects and $2,000 towards social activities).
  • There is no expectation that Platoons need to raise money beyond the initial $7,000 budget. The Mission Continues is grateful for your support as a Platoon Leader. First and foremost, your responsibility as a Platoon Leader is to lead your platoon, organize service, support and social missions, and focus on your local mission. There is no expectation that your platoon needs to raise money, and if you chose to do so, it should occur in coordination with your other platoon responsibilities. 
  • A Service Platoon can choose to raise up to $5,000 specific to their platoon and spend the amount raised beyond their baseline budget of $7,000 (A total possible budget is $12,000. $7,000 +$5,000 raised by the platoon for a maximum total of $12,000). You should not bank on raising the extra funding, and need to raise it before you spend it.
  • The total budget limit does not include in-kind support, but in-kind support should be treated as gifts to the organization benefitting from the project. Please see the in-kind section below for more information on how to handle in-kind donations.
  • Money raised for the additional platoon budget should be money from new donors, not current donors to The Mission Continues (e.g. if a person who already gives to The Mission Continues comes to a service project, it’s not fair game to ask them to direct their gifts/give extra to the Platoon). 
  • Local fundraising can focus on local small businesses, individuals (e.g. friends and family of Platoon members and local community members), and community organizations (e.g. the Chamber of Commerce). 
  • Because companies direct their philanthropy to organization-level partners and because they often have presences in multiple cities, we will coordinate relationships with mid-size and large companies at a national level. 
  • Foundations generally require detailed proposals and grant-reporting, which fits with organizational investments vs. with local grassroots efforts. 

Platoon Sponsors



To build our long-term financial sustainability, The Mission Continues is working to enlist a Lead Sponsor for each Service Platoon, as well as Contributing Sponsors. We will ask you to plan/do one dedicated service project/activity with the Lead Sponsor, and one other with the full set of corporate sponsors. The Regional Platoon Team and the Development Team will help you to plan these. The Mission Continues will provide additional funding (as needed, to a point) to support these dedicated corporate service projects, along with t-shirts for volunteers.

Service Platoon Sponsorship funding will cover the baseline Platoon costs and help to pay for everything we are investing as an organization to establish and grow Service Platoons. The funding will help pay for all of the staff who support Service Platoons, open up opportunities across the country, and ensure that your stories of leadership and impact are shared publicly.

Executive Directors and the Development Team will manage the partnerships on an organizational level. In collaboration with us, we are excited for you to benefit from and enjoy these relationships.

We are hopeful that corporate partners will be terrific resources for the platoons, including as volunteers, for job networking, as mentors, and with access to fun opportunities.


In-Kind Donations



Product donations that the Platoon would keep and continue to use throughout the year are in-kind
donations to us (The Mission Continues). For a receipt, please fill out an In-Kind Donation Form.
We do not accept in-kind donations of alcohol for Service Platoon activities, including social donations specific to the site of a service project are actually donations to the organization hosting the project, and receipting needs to be done by that organization, not The Mission Continues.

The Mission Continues (or the recipient non-profit) is legally not allowed to place value on an in-kind item; that is the responsibility of the donor.


Frequently Asked Questions



How much money can I raise to support my local platoon?
There is no expectation for platoons to fundraising, but if you want to, you can raise up to $5,000 for your platoon.

Any additional money raised beyond the $5,000 would support The Mission Continues or would need to be donations straight to the organizations’ benefiting from your service projects.

How does the budget-increase cap work?

Beyond the additional $5,000 raised, The Mission Continues will not restrict a donation towards a Service Platoon. 

Here are a few illustrative examples:
  • You meet people who want to support the work of your Platoon. Until the total reaches $5,000, those gifts will be restricted by The Mission Continues towards your service platoon and tracked as additional income to your baseline budget of $7,000. 
  • For example, if a donor wants to give $10,000 towards your Service Platoon. Only the first $5,000 would be allowed to be restricted to your Service Platoon’s budget (unless you had already raised some money...then reduce by prior amount raised). The other $5,000 (or more) would be a straight donation to The Mission Continues, not restricted to your Service Platoon. Donations made to The Mission Continues that are above and beyond your $5,000 budget are also a good thing, because those donations will help us to serve more veterans overall. If we don’t have a lead sponsor for your platoon, this donation will help fund everything we do to support your platoon, i.e. recruitment support, marketing, training, best practice sharing, and financial operations. We will very much appreciate your collaboration. 
  • Your Service Platoon is planning a major refurbishment service project and raises money as well as in-kind donations (products,such as rakes or paint, or services, such as concrete pouring, special landscaping, etc.) for the project expenses. Monetary and in-kind donations that cover project expenses are benefitting another organization, so that organization is the one legally responsible for receipting donors. NOTE: Please be sure to notify and gain permission from the service project host site before accepting donations on their behalf. 
Whom can I ask to support my local platoon?
Support received for a local platoon should come from new donors, not current donors who currently support The Mission Continues. It should come from individuals, small businesses and community organizations (generally not larger companies or foundations; if an opportunity arises, discuss with your Regional Platoon Team, who will always contact a member of the Development Team). Before reaching out to any potential funders, please be sure to check in with your Regional Platoon Team to see if we already have a relationship there.

Can I fill out a grant application for funding on behalf of The Mission Continues? Can I sign a contract?
No, only full-time Mission Continues staff members are allowed to submit any grants or sign any contracts on behalf of the organization. If an opportunity to fill out a grant or sign a contract because available, please consult with the Development team and your Regional Platoon Team.

What forms of payment are acceptable if I receive donations for my platoon?Cash and checks are acceptable forms of payment. The Mission Continues CANNOT accept credit card donations directed towards a platoon without prior approval from the Development team. If you have a donor inquiring about making this type of donation, please contact Amanda Mahurin at amahurin@missioncontinues.org More details are provided about each form of payment below.

Cash – If you receive cash donations, convert them to a money order or a cashier’s check before sending them in. This can be done at your local bank or many retailers such as Wal-Mart. Please note that there may be a small service fee to create a cashier’s check or money order. After converting the cash donation, fill out the Service Platoon Donation Form (one for each separate money order and/or cashier’s check) and mail it to The Mission Continues. Also send an email to Amanda Mahurin at amahurin@missioncontinues.org and your Regional Platoon Team, including the number of donations and the amount that will be mailed in.

Checks – Checks should be made payable to The Mission Continues. Platoon designations go in the memo line. Fill out the Service Platoon Donation Form (one for each separate check) and mail it to The Mission Continues. Also send an email to Amanda Mahurin at amahurin@missioncontinues.org and your Regional Platoon Team, including the number of donations and the amount that will be mailed in. If a donor wants to mail a check directly to The Mission Continues, that is fine as well, but they MUST indicate the platoon designation in the memo line of the check, i.e. 1st Platoon D.C.

Who will provide receipts for donations received by my platoon?
The Mission Continues will issue tax receipts for any cash or check donations made to your platoon, provided that a Service Platoon Donation Form is filled out. Platoon Leaders/Members cannot issue tax receipts or any official-looking acknowledgement letters. Hand-written thank you notes and emails are great for you to send. The only source of a tax receipt/official letter is The Mission Continues Development Team; letters are signed by someone who is legally authorized. 

Regarding in-kind donations, please note that The Mission Continues (or the recipient non-profit) is legally not allowed to place value on an in-kind item; that is the responsibility of the donor.

How should we handle In-kind donations?
Product donations that the Platoon would keep and continue to use throughout the year are in-kind donations to us (The Mission Continues). If someone wants an in-kind donation receipt from us, you will need to fill out an In-Kind donation form (shared on the google site). We do not accept in-kind donations of alcohol for Service Platoon activities, including social activities.

Donations specific to the site of a service project are actually donations to the organization hosting the project, and receipting needs to be done by that organization, not The Mission Continues.

What if a local company wants to provide supplies for my service project?
Raising/accepting supplies for a service project is great, as long as the items are approved by the service project host site. Additionally, the organization that is hosting the service project is responsible for receipting the donor. Please note that nonprofit are not legally allowed to place value on an item; that is the responsibility of the company or person donating the items. I.e. Acme Hardware store wants to donated 4 gallons of paint for a service project at ABC Homeless Shelter. Acme tells ABC Homeless Shelter how much the paint is worth, and ABC Homeless Shelter provides a tax receipt to Acme Hardware.

What if a local company wants to provide other supports to my Platoon?
Local level corporate support (e.g. business offering space as a social gathering venue, training vouchers to veterans wanting to learn skills) is great; just coordinate with us first before accepting, and think about your platoon sponsors as higher priorities. 

Can I host a fundraising event to support my local platoon?
Yes, but fundraising events should only be held if you are meeting other platoon obligations first.

What types of fundraising events can I plan to support my platoon?
The Mission Continues strongly suggests hosting smaller, low-cost fundraisers such as nights-out at restaurants, car washes, etc. If you are thinking of hosting a larger event, please know there are many rules that govern fundraising events. The easiest thing to do may be setting up a fundraising page (the Development Team would help you with this) and sharing the opportunity to support the Platoon’s project with friends and family. Be sure to run any fundraising ideas by your Regional Platoon Team for approval.

Can I use money from my platoon’s budget to pay for fundraising costs?
No, you cannot use money out of your platoon’s budget to cover any fundraising costs.

Can someone who is not a platoon member host a fundraiser for my platoon?
Yes, but this could get complicated quickly. So, discuss any possibilities with your Regional Platoon Team first. Then the Development Team would help you think through how this would work. 

What support will I have from The Mission Continues if I plan a fundraiser for my platoon?
The Mission Continues is happy to provide you with banners and/or marketing materials for your event, but the majority of the support for your event should come from your platoon members or other volunteers.

Have a question that isn’t answered above? Contact your Regional Platoon Team.
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Jess Peter,
Oct 21, 2015, 7:07 PM
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Jess Peter,
Oct 21, 2015, 7:07 PM