Hey everyone, I wanted to chime in as the founder of Hack Club / Hack Club Bank and a FIRST alum from FRC team #1759 in southern California.
As others have mentioned, one good option is fiscal sponsorship, where you get:
501(c)(3) nonprofit status, so donations are tax-deductible
(depending on the fiscal sponsor) Eligibility for corporate matching programs, so donations from employees at many companies are doubled
Managed fund within an existing foundation, so your funds are separated and backoffice work is taken care of for you (bookkeeping, taxes, donor receipts, etc)
Ability to get up and running quickly vs. waiting months for IRS to reply to 501(c)(3) / Form 1023 filing
When we started Hack Club in 2014, we originally started under a fiscal sponsor because we wanted to get up and running quickly. We incorporated in 2016 after our budget was in 6 figures and we had meaningful international operations.
We created Hack Club Bank in 2018 because so many Hack Clubs and hackathons needed a way to receive donations, manage those funds, and spend them. We tried partnering with other fiscal sponsors (there are many organizations that focus solely on providing fiscal sponsorship), but found that:
- They weren’t optimized for student groups
- They had minimum project budgets of $10-25K, which was too high, and high fees
- They didn’t have a web interface to manage funds - you had to correspond with someone over email.
- Some of them were unreliable and would take a long time to reply to emails
Hack Club Bank is a fiscal sponsor specifically designed for technical student groups, and today hundreds of hackathons and Hack Clubs run on it every year.
“FIRST is excited to be working with Hack Club Bank to simplify participation in our programs—it’s a game-changer!”
– Chris Rake, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, FIRST ®
Over the past year, we’ve been working with FIRST HQ to make Hack Club Bank available to FIRST teams. Here are some of the features:
501(c)(3) nonprofit status through Hack Club
Beautiful web interface to manage funds. Ability to send ACHs, checks, invoices to sponsors, and to issue physical spending cards to coaches / team members. Multiple team members can be added to interface.
Eligibility for corporate matching donations. In the past year (2022-2023 school year), we processed $70,000 in corporate matches to groups on Hack Club Bank. We are already set up in most corporate systems (like Benevity).
Receive donations through almost any means: online credit card donations, GoFundMe, checks via mail, ACH / wire transfer, invoices to sponsors, stock donations, and more
Get reimbursed for team expenses by submitting your receipts online and getting a direct deposit in your personal bank account
Ability to transfer your fund to another fiscal sponsor or 501(c)(3) at any time
We ask for a 7% administrative fee to cover the cost of our operations (we have full-time staff to make sure Hack Club Bank is reliable and to provide support). We are a nonprofit ourselves, and this fee is on the low end for fiscal sponsors.
To get started on Hack Club Bank, go to https://hackclub.com/bank/first/ and fill out the form at the bottom of the page - or feel free to email us with any questions at [email protected].
What your team’s fund looks like in Hack Club Bank (link):
Here is a flyer: Hack Club Bank for FIRST.pdf (1.5 MB)