The short story is, DAGR raises money to stay legal as a non-profit organization in Greece, so that we can Get Out The (Democratic) Vote for US elections.
The annual ‘budget’ for DAGR is about €3000 now. It covers ongoing and optional expenses, all of which are geared at our goal of getting Americans in Greece informed, engaged, registered and sending back those ballots. Of course, our hope is that they’ll also become members of DAGR and help spread the word further.
How we do that is the longer story. Read on if you have time.
Key reasons we raise money:
- DAGR Budget Overview
- 2017 Field Plan, carried forward
- How DAGR fits into the ‘big picture’
- US Federal Election Commission law
- The Democrats Abroad (global) Charter
- DAGR and Greek Law
DAGR Budget Overview
Your donation to DAGR is spent in line with the Field Plan put together by our 11-member elected Executive Committee (ExCom) a few years back. This is a plan, not a straitjacket, but ExCom makes every effort to foresee the expenses we’ll face for the year ahead. In short, it covers:
- Headquarters – up to €1000 a year (rent, electricity, water), temporarily being donated, could become an expense again in the coming year.
- Accountant – to remain compliant with Greek tax law, annual retainer of €950 for advice, oversight, and filing quarterly/annual tax reports.
Other professional fees
- Legal – none at present (if pro bono or ExCom ‘Counsel’ is a lawyer)
- Document filing fees approx. €250/2-years
- Signs, Printing, Mailing, Supplies
- Seed money for events and fundraising
- Athens PRIDE booth rental - €40
- Independence Day—Fourth of July (FOJ) venue/meals - €2000 (variable at €20 per person x 100)
- FOJ fireworks - €500
- Fundraising ‘souvenirs’ (wholesale) €500
Note that ongoing expenses are pure ‘outgo’. Neither the HQ nor the accountant bring in money. However, they’re essential for our legal status in Greece. They could, potentially, be ‘free’ if fully donated.
Likewise, banners, promotional materials such as VoteFromAbroad pens, postcards or posters to hang up around town, must either be ordered from the DA co-op in Munich or printed/sourced here in Greece. So, these are ‘outgo’ items.
Seed money for events or souvenirs (e.g. that button or mug we give to donors to say thanks) brings money into the organization.
How DAGR fits into the ‘big picture’
DAGR is a country committee of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA).
Its main duty is to Get Out The Vote. As a CC, we can’t send money ‘up’ to the Party, but we can encourage members to donate to DA, DNC and/or candidates of their choice.
At the same time, we all, through our election of and communication with our CC officers, have a direct pipeline through which we share our concerns and ideas about American issues and what we think our party should do about them.
Democrats Abroad operates under three sets of law:
- US Federal Election Commission (FEC) law
- The DPCA Charter (bylaws)
- Host country laws wherever there is a Country Committee
Sometimes these three standards seem at cross purposes.
US Federal Election Commission law
We can only accept donations from individual American citizens.
- Not companies, even if registered in the US.
- Not unions or non-profit organizations, even if registered in the US.
- Not from non-Americans.
We can pay a non-American person or business for use of a venue, use of equipment, or professional services, BUT these must be at market rates OR if discounted, only at a discounted price that would be offered to any similar organization.
Donations (and donors) must be recorded and recordable. That is, anything more than an aggregate of $100 in a year must be by check, credit card, or electronic bank transfer.
Also, the Party, i.e. the DNC can give money ‘down’ to committees such as the DPCA. The DPCA can give money ‘down’ to its Country Committees. And Country Committees can give money to their Chapters to operate (though only the CC operates the treasury). Money cannot move ‘upwards’ from CC to DPCA to DNC.
Consequently, individual members can donate to their CC, another CC, to the DPCA, or even to the Democratic Party. But money donated to a CC will not be ‘shared’ with ‘global’ or ‘the Party.’ Members are, however, encouraged to donate directly to DPCA to offset the expense of services ‘global’ provides to CC’s.
The Democrats Abroad (global) Charter
The DPCA Charter (bylaws) is the governing document for Democrats Abroad at all levels from global, to regional, to local country committee (CC). The Charter:
- Sets the standards for membership
- Defines the relationship between a CC and the global committee.
- Describes the mission of the organization
- Provides details within that mission, e.g. inclusivity, affirmative action, gender balance in leadership, and how leadership, DNC ‘members’ (our representatives) and delegates to the quadrennial Convention are selected.
- Country Committee bylaws differ from country to country, but all must conform to the DPCA Charter and operating rules.
- The Charter also states that a CC must conform to the laws of its host country.
DAGR and Greek Law
Any non-profit organization that collects money in Greece must be registered with three Greek authorities.
- Court of First Instance – File original bylaws and officers, file updates (amendments) to the bylaws and election of new officers
- Greek Tax Authority – Once established with the Court, the organization must obtain a tax number and file regular tax returns for any monies collected or disbursed.
- The ‘Periferia’ is responsible for oversight of the organization. It conducts periodic audits to ensure timely, correct tax statements are filed and that the financial operations keep good faith with the membership.
Late filing or non-compliance may result in fines and penalties in addition to taxes owed.
Funds may be raised by a non-profit organization without tax being owed via:
Non-profit organizations may also raise funds by sales of items or services, but:
- VAT is owed on such sales!
- EXCEPT that non-profits are allowed TWO VAT-exempt events per year (IF properly requested one month in advance)
For this reason, most smaller non-profits offer a ‘souvenir’ or ‘thanks’ item to those who give donations. These are never referred to as ‘sales,’ but it's something of a grey area.
Non-profits may also accept in-kind donations of items the organization can use. These include anything the organization might otherwise have to pay for out of treasury.
- New or used furnishings for the headquarters
- Office equipment, e.g. a computer or printer
- Rent or professional fee paid on behalf of the organization.
- Food or fireworks for a 4th of July celebration.
- And of course, volunteer time and talent is an in-kind donation of labor!
So, that's the short and long of it. If you've made it this far, your interest is appreciated and we'd love to have you volunteer for the Fund Raising committee!
Any questions? Send an email to Chair or other officers in the list on the Greece home page.
Or if you're still inspired to help, here's the donation information.
DAGR BANKING INFORMATION
Beneficiary: ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΚΟΥ ΚΟΜΜΑΤΟΣ Η.Π.Α.
(Please note that if you make an online transfer from another bank, DAGR will be charged 3 Euros for the transfer, unless you indicated that you will absorb the fee)