Here, you'll find the answers to the questions we're asked most frequently about supporting Modest Needs. If you have questions about supporting Modest Needs not answered here, please Contact Us, and we'll be happy to answer your question for you. Enjoy, and thank you very much for your support!

1. Is my donation to Modest Needs tax deductible?

If you are a donor from the United States, yes. Modest Needs is a registered 501 (c) (3) (tax exempt) organization, Federal ID #47-0863430. Any contribution that you make to Modest Needs is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

If you're registered with Modest Needs, you can see both a complete record of your donation history and print tax receipts for current and prior years that are acceptable to the IRS by logging in to our system and visiting your Account Page. From there, select to view your contribution history or print tax receipts from the left menu on that page.

If you are a donor from Canada, no. Due to the small number of applications we receive from Canada and the expense involved in applying for / maintaining a charitable registration with the CRA, we have opted not to pursue tax-exempt status in Canada at this time.

2. How can I make a donation to support Modest Needs?

At Modest Needs, we offer several ways to give. The fastest, easiest and most secure way to support Modest Needs is to make a monthly pledge/one-time gift using our secure online donation form, which you can access by clicking the 'Donate Now' button you see on the top right corner of every page of our website.

Using this form, you can make a contribution to our General or Emergency Funds, or you can add funds to your account that you can allocate later to the applications you'd most like to see funded.

You can also use our shopping cart feature to allocate a new contribution to several applications at once. To use this feature, just select Browse Requests for Help from our main menu, then add as many contributions as you like to your cart. You can then 'checkout' and make all of your contributions at once.

If you'd like to support Modest Needs but would prefer not to make your donation online, we offer several other ways to support Modest Needs. These include making a gift or pledge by check or through your bank's bill payment software, giving through Network for Good, and selling on eBay to benefit Modest Needs. And of course, you're welcome to make a gift or pledge by phone by calling (212) 463-7042.

3. Is my online contribution to Modest Needs secure?

Yes. At Modest Needs, we take the security of our donors' personal information very seriously. Our website is monitored in real-time by McAfee for security issues, our contribution forms are secured by state-of-the-art encryption, and your online donation is processed by and, the leaders in secure online giving.

Additionally, you should know that we do not ever retain any 'live' payment information in our database. As soon as your contribution is complete, we electronically 'shred' your contribution data such that is it never again accessible to anyone - not even Modest Needs' staff member.

Finally, you should know that if you make a recurring contribution, your billing information is stored, not at Modest Needs, but at, which carries both the licensing and insurance required to store live payment data.

4. Can I make a gift or pledge via eCheck or an electronic debit / automatic payment from my checking account?

Yes. To make a gift or pledge via your checking account using your bank's bill payment software, just input the amount of your one time gift or recurring pledge using the following payee information:

Payee Name: Modest Needs Foundation
Payee Address: 115 E 30th St, FL 1, New York, NY 10016
Contact Number: 1.212.463.7042.

That's all there is to it. Once - or once monthly - your bank will automatically send a check in the amount you specify to Modest Needs.

If you need further help with this process, just contact us or give us a call at (212) 463-7042, and we'll be happy to help you in any way that we can.

5. Is Modest Needs able to take advantage of employer/employee matching gifts?

Yes. If your employer offers a matching gift incentive, then all you have to do is send your gift, along with your employer's matching gift form, to:

Modest Needs Foundation
115 E 30th St, FL 1
New York, NY 10016

Immediately upon receipt, we'll fill out the matching gift form and return it, plus any necessary documentation, to your employer.

You may need Modest Needs Foundation's Federal Tax ID number to expedite this process. Modest Needs' Federal Tax ID Number is 47-0863430.

6. Does Modest Needs accept gifts of appreciated stock?

Yes. If you're considering making a gift of stock, then you probably are aware of the significant tax benefits available to those persons who make gifts of appreciated stock to charity. Such gifts can tremendously reduce your tax liability while assisting a large number of persons who have requested help from Modest Needs. We're very happy to be able to accept gifts of this type.

Modest Needs maintains a brokerage account for the sole purpose of receiving gifts of appreciated stock. If you'd like to make a gift of stock in any amount, please call (212) 463-7042 or contact us by e-mail. We'll give you all the information you need to initiate the stock transfer.

7. Does Modest Needs accept PayPal?

Yes. We don't recommend contributing through PayPal because the cost for us to accept PayPal contributions is very high. However, if you'd like to give to Modest Needs via PayPal, you can do so by 'paying' the address " AT". We'll add a record of your contribution to your account as soon as we receive notice of it.

Due to overwhelming demand, we'll be adding a 'Give via PayPal' option to our 'Checkout' section shortly.

8. Does Modest Needs accept gifts of material goods (coats, clothes, etc.) for distribution to others?

Not at this time. To keep costs low, Modest Needs operates with a 'Skeleton Crew.' We simply don't have the staff or facilities necessary to accept, track, store, or responsibly distribute material goods.

There are, however, several terrific organizations with the space, funding and personnel necessary to distribute goods to persons who need them the most. If you'd like to make a donation of this type, please consider either GoodWill or The Salvation Army.

9. How can I make a donation to Modest Needs in someone's honor or memory?

Our shopping cart feature allows you to make a contribution in someone's honor. To take advantage of this feature, add the contribution of your choice to your cart and then, during checkout, select the checkbox next to 'Make this gift in someone's name or honor." When you complete checkout, we'll instantly send a notice to your honoree telling that person about your contribution in their name, honor, or in someone's memory.

10. Does Modest Needs offer gift certificates?

Yes. A Modest Needs gift certificate is more than just a thoughtful gesture. It actually gives your recipient the ability to instantly change the life of one or more of our applicants.

You can create a beautifully customized Modest Needs gift certificate in two minutes or less. Plus, our gift certificates are instantly delivered via email, so they make great last-minute gifts.

To create a gift certificate now, just follow this link.

11. Do Modest Needs Gift Certificates ever expire?

Yes. Modest Needs Gift Certificates expire one year after the date that they are purchased.

If you provide an email address for your gift certificate recipient, and that person has not redeemed that gift certificate within 11 months of the date that you purchased it, we will send an email reminder to your recipient reminding that person to redeem his or her gift certificate.

If the gift certificate is not redeemed within one year from the date of its purchase, the funds attached to the gift certificate are returned to Modest Needs' General Fund for immediate disbursement.

12. Do I have to register with Modest Needs in order to make a contribution?

No. You can choose to make your contribution anonymously if you like simply by omitting your email address from our contribution form. However, if you select this option, you won't be able to track the results of your contribution on the Modest Needs website or access other features related to your support of Modest Needs.

For this reason, we highly recommend registering with us as a donor, but if you truly want to remain anonymous, we certainly respect your wishes.

13. Is there any limit to the number of donor registrations that I / my household can create at Modest Needs?

No. Because we know that many persons living in the same household wish to track their charitable contributions separately, you and the persons living in your household may create as many donor registrations as you think are necessary to appropriately track your support of Modest Needs.

If at all possible, we would ask that you limit the number of donor registrations you create to one per household member. This makes it easy for us to track the contributions made by the persons living in your household.

14. What steps does Modest Needs take to ensure that the grant applications I've seen posted on Modest Needs' website are 'legitimate?'

When it comes to the vetting of online grant applications, Modest Needs is widely recognized as having set the standard by which all others are measured. We've earned this reputation via the proprietary screening process we've developed over the past ten years.

Before any application is posted to our website for donor review, we require prospective applicants to provide us with documentation sufficient to demonstrate both that they qualify to apply for a Modest Needs grant and that they have been truthful about their identities and locations, their household income and its sources, the issues our applicants' households are facing, and the costs of the bills our applicants are asking for our help to afford.

As we receive documentation to support a grant application, our Client Advocacy Specialists perform the due-diligence necessary to ensure that the documentation that we've received is 'real' and that the applicant has been straightforward with us about his or her situation and the need for a Modest Needs grant. We also work to ensure that the application, if funded, will have a substantial, long-term impact on the life of the individual who placed the application. If at any point during the application process, we discover that an applicant has not been truthful with us, we simply close the application and disable the applicant's account.

Most importantly, whenever we can make a grant, we do not ever send cash payments to the individuals who have successfully applied for help from Modest Needs. Rather, we actually remit payment directly to the vendor or creditor named in the applicant's documentation on behalf of the grantee.

In short, our due-diligence process is designed to make it easy as possible for legitimate applicants to complete our application process while discouraging the would-be 'scammers' from applying for a Modest Needs grant in the first place. Because our due-diligence process is so thorough, you may see fewer grant applications on Modest Needs' website than you'd find on some 'copycat' websites, but we can absolutely guarantee that every application you see on our website is 'the real thing.'

15. Can I see an actual example of an applicant's complete documentation packet?

Of course. Just click 'View Sample Documentation Packet', below. You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer in order to view the sample documentation packet.

The documentation packet we have on display is for request 38199, which our donors helped to fund in June 2004. The request was from a man in Nebraska - Michael McConnell - who had recently undergone below-the-knee amputation of his right leg. Under our New Employment Grant program, he requested $319, the cost to move his car's gas pedal from the right side to the left side, thereby enabling him to return to work.

Please note that sensitive personal information (such as Michael's actual street address and driver's license number) have been redacted for obvious reasons. And thanks to Michael for allowing us to post his documentation packet publicly.

View Sample Documentation Packet

16. When I give to Modest Needs, am I giving to Modest Needs, the organization, or to specific people whose applications I've seen on Modest Needs' website?

When you give to Modest Needs, you are making an unrestricted contribution to Modest Needs, the organization.

When you make a contribution in response to an application you've seen on our website, you are recommending to us that we fund the application, helping us to raise the money necessary to fund that application, and helping us to determine the order in which the applications we've already received, vetted and approved will be funded, but you are not giving money directly to the person who placed that application.

17. I've seen other websites that say I can give money directly to specific persons who need help. So why can't Modest Needs operate the same way?

The answer to this question is very, very important. We want you to be informed when you give online, so please read the answer to this question very carefully:

In the many years since Modest Needs launched, a number of 'copycat' websites have sprung up all over the Internet. These websites allow people to list 'needs 'that they have and allow you to give gifts of money directly to those people.

Those 'copycat' websites are not - repeat, NOT - registered charities. Instead, they are 'donation aggregators' - for-profit businesses that let people post requests for anything they want, perform little (if any) due-diligence on the applications they receive and take a substantial 'cut' of the funds that people raise through these websites. The persons who own and operate these copycat sites must then pay tax on their profits.

This is why money you give to persons via these copycat websites is both unsecure and not tax-deductible to you. It is also the reason that you can 'restrict' money you give on these copycat sites to any person you like. When you give money to a person via one of these copycat sites, the IRS doesn't see what you do on these copycat sites as making a charitable contribution. They see it as you making a gift, and gifts you make to people are not tax-deductible to you.

As a registered charity, Modest Needs is subject to the rules and regulations set forth by state and federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service. One of these rules specifies that donors to charity may not make a gift to any charity with the condition that the charity then 'pass' that gift to a specific individual selected by the donor, and no one else.

This practice, called 'targeted giving,' is prohibited by the IRS because, if this rule were not in place, you could make a contribution to a bona-fide charity, 'restrict' that gift to yourself, to a member of your family, or someone else you know personally, force the charity to send your money to that specific person, and then, at the end of the year, claim that you made a tax-deductible contribution to a charity when, really, you made a non-tax-deductible gift to a friend or family member and used a charity to do it.

For this reason, when you give to Modest Needs, state/federal laws and IRS regulations require that the gift be unrestricted, and made to Modest Needs itself. While you may recommend to us which applications you believe we ought to prioritize using the methods we provide on our website, the final determinations concerning which applications we approve for display on our website and which applications we actually fund must, by law, rest with Modest Needs itself.

Of course, we try to follow donor recommendations as to the order in which we fund applications whenever possible - and usually, this is possible, since, before any application appears on our website, we've already determined that the application falls within Modest Needs' funding guidelines and that we will fund that application if funding becomes available.

But by law, for the reasons outlined above, we cannot and do not ever absolutely guarantee that a contribution you make to Modest Needs will be used to fund an application you've recommended that we prioritize, and we cannot accept contributions that a donor attempts to 'restrict' to a particular individual. Because we work to help individuals in need of assistance, for us to do either of these things would jeopardize Modest Needs' tax-exempt status.

18. What does it mean when Modest Needs says the cost to complete an application includes the 'Cost of Fulfillment'?

The cost to complete an application consists of 2 parts: 1) the cost of the applicant request and 2) the cost of fulfillment, which is used to pay for program-related costs that Modest Needs incurs to support this site, vet and process applications, cultivate our donor base, and carry out our daily operations. It is this support from our donors that enables us to do the work we do and help the people we help!

19. What is the purpose of the 'Optional Contribution to Modest Needs' that is automatically added to the Shopping Cart?

The optional contribution to Modest Needs that we add to your cart on checkout is exactly that - an optional contribution that will help Modest Needs to expand to reach more of the people who need our help.

The 'optional' contribution is calculated as $3.00 or 10% of the amount of your contribution, capped at $100.00.

This optional contribution is strictly optional, and you can remove it from your cart prior to checkout if you'd like. But we find that the vast majority of our donors understand the importance of this work and are willing to invest in its growth. We hope you'll feel the same way.

20. How long does it take for Modest Needs to remit payment for a grant application once the application has been fully funded?

Modest Needs issues grants twice each week. Normally, we issue grant checks on Tuesdays and Fridays, so depending on the date that an application becomes fully funded, it can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours for us to actually issue the grant.

However, it is important to note that we carefully track 'time-sensitive' applications and have the ability to make a grant to fund a time-sensitive application within minutes of its being fully funded.

21. If I contribute to Modest Needs, can I expect to receive any feedback from individuals whose applications I've helped to fund?

Yes! So long as you register with Modest Needs, then whether you give to our General Fund, our Emergency Fund, or elect to recommend that we fund the specific applications that matter most to you, you'll receive an emailed 'Thank You' note actually written by the successful grantee within a day or so of the application having been fully funded.

Many donors tell us that the most rewarding part of contributing to Modest Needs is reading the reading these heartfelt 'Thank You' notes, but if you'd prefer not to receive them, just update your account preferences and select that you do NOT wish to receive testimonials by email.

22. I want to support Modest Needs but don't have time to browse through the applications I've seen on Modest Needs website. Can Modest Needs place my donation for me?

Yes. If you'd like for us to place your contribution wherever it will have the most impact, just make your contribution to Modest Needs' General Fund or Emergency Fund. You'll still be able to track how we've allocated your funding across our prequalified applications, and you'll still receive the 'Thank You' notes from the persons whose applications we are able to fund, thanks to your support.

23. What is 'my wallet'? Do the funds in my wallet ever expire?

Your Modest Needs 'wallet' offers you an easy way to give without having to go through checkout every time. If you have funds in your Modest Needs wallet, you can recommend that we fund an application directly from the 'View Application' page, without having to go through our checkout process.

To add funds to your wallet, then from our online donation form, just select to allocate your contribution to your Modest Needs account. The funds you contribute will automatically be credited to your Modest Needs wallet.

Generally, you have 30 days to spend the funds in your Modest Needs wallet. After that time, these funds are moved to Modest Needs' General Fund for immediate disbursement. However, if you'd prefer to 'save up' the funds in your wallet, just Contact Us to let us know your preference. We can set your account so that the funds in your wallet expire annually instead of monthly. This way, you can 'save up' the funds in your wallet until you're ready to make a tremendous impact on the lives of one or more of our applicants.

24. How do I change or update my current pledge to Modest Needs?

To update your current pledge to Modest Needs, just log into our system and click My Account in our top menu. From your account, select 'Manage My Pledges' from the left menu to open the Pledge Management Wizard, which will walk you through the process of updating your recurring contribution to Modest Needs.

25. Where can I find more information about how Modest Needs uses the donations it receives?

One of Modest Needs' most important policies is that of complete operational transparency.

For information on Modest Needs' past years' financial activities, we invite you to review our online Annual Reports, available from 2005 to present. Our online annual reports contain a summary of each year's achievements and access to our Form 990, Independent Auditor's Report, and 501 c 3 determination letter.

Additionally, you can view the complete history of every application Modest Needs has funded, from inception to present (including links to the 'thank you' notes left by those persons we've been able to help) by selecting Browse Requests for Help from our main menu.

Finally, you can view Modest Needs' profiles at Guidestar.Org, Network For Good, and the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, all of whom have awarded Modest Needs their highest possible ratings for transparency, governance, and fiscal responsibility.