I’ve done a lot of Form 990 analysis on this blog over the years, but a change to the tax requirements for non-profits gives us some more insight. Previously, the IRS did not make the Schedule B public, which for most non-profits lists any donor over $5,000, but for 501(c)(3)s lists any donor that goes over 2% of funds raised. Recently the rule was changed so that non-profits could submit their Schedule B without identifying information. This provides some transparency but without allowing the Twitter mobs to target big donors.
So Everytown raised a record 67 million dollars in 2018, according to their Form 990. According to the Schedule B, 39 million of that was raised from one donor. I think we can all guess who that is. But even Mike Bloomberg has friends. They raised 4 million more dollars in million dollar donations. That takes us up to 43 million raised from rich assholes. If you count the rest, if my math is right, Everytown raised 47.2 million in donations over $5000, leaving about $20 million raised in increments lower than $5000. Now that’s way more than Brady could have dreamed of a few years ago, but 47.2 million will buy you more fundraising muscle than Brady could have afforded.
Indeed, Everytown spent 2.4 million on fundraising. A generally acceptable return is $1 back for every 24 cents spent, so Everytown should have raised about 10 million just based on their fundraising spend. That’s assuming Everytown is getting average fundraising efficiency. I’d bet because they hire good people they are beating 24 cents on the dollar. It’s not unheard of to get 12 cents on the dollar, and they might be doing that.
If the rich assholes disappeared from the books next year, Everytown’s yearly take would be about 20 million. Ten million of that would be spoken for just in management expenses and fundraising, and the rest wouldn’t cover payroll. So they would be a very different organization with very different concerns were the big donors to disappear. I’d note that Everytown’s top paid exec is only pulling $350,000 (take note, Wayne), so they aren’t blowing a lot of money on execs.
Two donors pledged to them 17.6 million in stock, and they actually took possession of 1 million worth of pledged stock. But that doesn’t count toward their money raised: it’s an asset. Those are counted as non-cash gifts which is a different line item.
The Everytown 501(c)(3) is harder to tell, because the public support test the IRS uses is largely a joke. A $50 million dollar charity with fifty $1,000,000 donors is a charity with 100% public support. In fact, because that calculation is done over a 5 year period, you could sneak in a few larger donors under the radar without budging your public support percentage very much at all. The IRS also only requires that you count the overage over 2% of gross receipts, so if a donor donated $1,000,001 dollars, the million is public support. Only the $1 counts against it.
So what does the charity look like? Pretty similar in terms of dependence on rich assholes. They took in 37 million. 12.4 million of that came from donors who donated more than $740,000. So you’d think that means 67% public support, but that’s not how it’s calculated. It’s 82.4% for that year by the way the IRS calculates it. So a half a million dollar donation to Everytown Support Fund does not need be disclosed and counts as public support. See what I mean about it being bullshit? As they raise more money, more and more rich asshole money counts as public support.
How many of you could afford to donate $5000 to NRA? NRA’s 2017 Schedule B is 30 pages long, with 173 donors donating over $5000. NRA raised 30.5 million from 16 donors over $500,000, but that’s on $311 million in revenue. NRA’s biggest donor donated 18.8 million (who was that?). The next guy down was 1.2 million. NRA’s return shows a lot more depth of support.