Does our volunteer school group need to have 501(c)(3) status to raise funds for the activities we do for the children? I've been treasurer for 4 years and I was told that we need to do this. Is it true? We have an Employer Identification Number - isn't that enough?
No. An EIN is not sufficient. It is not a statement of tax-exempt status. People can always give to your organization without regard to status, but in order to claim a charitable contribution deduction, a donor must make the gift to a 501(c)(3) organization or a governmental entity. If the gifts are given to a public or 501(c)(3) private school, the donors could claim the deduction. If you are a separate organization (not just a committee of the school) and the gifts are given to your organization, you must have your own (c)(3) status in order for the donors to claim the deduction.