Q: What kind of organization is Good Samaritan Missions?
A: GSM is a 501c3 non-profit whose IRS approved mission is to raise funds for international projects and students working on those projects. GSM also partners with other organizations to provide humanitarian services in underserved areas. Examples include InFocus and the Orphanage at Ometepe.
Q: What does the 6% administration fee cover?
A: All non-profit organizations have administrative costs. GSM only uses 6% of donations to cover costs, which include operating expenses as well as medical, dental, optometric, and veterinary supplies and medicine we provide for humanitarian projects.
Q: How are Good Samaritan Missions and International Service Learning related?
A: International Service Learning (ISL) is incorporated as a non-profit organization in Costa Rica and operates through Good Samaritan Missions, a 501c3 non-profit organization, in the United States.
Q: Why should I use the GSM Sponsorship Program to fund my trip?
A: You’re not asking for money – you’re asking for sponsorships. People respond very well to the Sponsorship Program because so many today want to help internationally but don’t know how. This gives them a welcomed opportunity to get involved through you and to do so in a completely safe and accountable manner.
Q: Will the IRS let me take a tax deduction credit for donations that I make on behalf of my child?
A: The IRS will not let us give tax deduction credit for something that benefits immediate family. We can normally give 2/3 tax deduction as we figure about that much of the trip benefits others. The balance benefits your child and therefore, we simply give you the appropriate letter and you work it out with the IRS. We cannot guarantee that it will be tax deductible if it benefits immediate family.
Q: If I receive donations personally can I send in a check to GSM and receive a tax deduction?
A: This is basically the same as above. The IRS will not let us give a tax deduction credit for something that benefits you directly. Also, your donors will not receive a tax deduction if they give directly to you.
Q: I’m signed up for a team but I’m getting more donations of children’s vitamins and meds than I can fit in my one mission/service supply bag. Now what?
A: First of all — good job!! Unfortunately, supplies cannot be sent down separately as the import costs (not to mention shipping costs) are prohibitive. Distribute your excess to fellow team members from your area if possible. Our office can help provide that information. Prioritize what you do bring: 1. Meds. 2. Children’s chewable vitamins. Of what you can’t arrange to transport, send meds and vitamins by UPS to ISL. Best, most effective, option: ask your generous friends/family to send a donation of money instead to Good Samaritan Missions so we can use the funds to buy needed meds on site.
Q: If I receive more donations than I need to cover the cost of my trip, can I use it towards my airfare?
A: According to the IRS, donations can only cover a portion (approximately 2/3) of the trip cost because part of the trip is “recreational” in nature. The Sponsorship Agreement states “….Funds secured through this sponsorship program can only be used for the balance of expenses. The $200 deposit may be refundable after the trip, if sufficient sponsorships are raised to cover the total trip cost.” The airfare, like the application fee, is not part of the cost of the trip and therefore donations cannot be used for that purpose. However, the airfare is part of the student’s cost for the trip and can be counted as the “1/3” that is not allowed by the IRS.
Q: If donations are sent in after I have paid for my trip will I be able to get a refund?
A: All funds received after you have paid in full will be credited to you. When the team is “closed” at 45 days after your return the amount of donations will be calculated and you will receive a refund based on the amount credited. Remember, you can only receive a refund amount based on the amount you paid in.
Q: What if I paid my deposit and I received enough donations to cover the cost of the trip, do I get my deposit back?
A: If your donations cover the full cost of your trip you will receive a refund for the deposit after the trip.