FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is my contribution to Greenpeace Foundation deductible on my taxes?
A: Yes. Greenpeace Foundation has been approved by the IRS as a 501 (c) 3 tax-deductible organization since its incorporation in 1976.
Greenpeace Foundation’s federal tax I.D. number is 99-0175939. For donations other than straight cash contributions to any nonprofit organization, check with your financial professional.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We formally incorporated in December of 1976, in Honolulu (although we had done work prior to that), and have remained continuously in good standing since that time. Our programs and our work have always been national and international in scope.
Q: Do you accept donations of stock, property, or other non-cash assets; and are they tax-deductible?
A: Yes, and yes. In the case of stock donations, it is as simple as doing an electronic transfer to our account. In the case of donations of property or planned giving, you’ll want to get in touch with us so we can give you more information on the tax benefits and the options available to you.
Q: How can I become a member?
A: Membership is free when you sign up electronically on this site. At this point, membership gets you (1) a e-feeling of belonging; and (2) prestige. Membership is also, paradoxically, free to anyone who gives us money. In other words, if you’re a donor, you are considered a member if you choose to give us your membership information while donating.
Q: How high are your administrative and fundraising costs?
A: Very low. As of this writing, all administrative functions are being handled by professionals donating their time. Likewise, there are very few fundraising costs; we do not engage in mass mailings or other cost-intensive fundraising practices, and attract donated labor based on the quality of our work. This web page, for instance, was created in its entirety due to a designated donation for that purpose.
Q: Do you currently have campaign ships in port?
A: No. As the first organization ever to buy, outfit, and put to sea a fully-owned environmental confrontation ship, we learned the hard way over the years that owning a fleet of boats – while it looks cool – is about the easiest way to squander contributors’ money. Ships require expensive maintenance whether they are used or not, and if you are not VERY careful you end up with a bunch of ships going nowhere, eating up money. Moreover, ships are seldom where you need them and using your own boat is almost always more expensive than chartering a vessel near your intended campaign. With wisdom born of experience, we have sold all our campaign boats and will never again own one; we routinely turn down offered donations of ships. Ships are easy to acquire but expensive to maintain, and if you give us a dollar we like to spend it on action rather than maintenance. Owning boats was a nifty thing to do when we were a younger organization, but at this point it’s more responsible to charter them only when needed.
Q: What is the office and staffing structure of Greenpeace Foundation?
A: Except for accounting and corporate recordkeeping, it is utterly decentralized across the nation, with little to no paid staff at any given time, overseen by board and advisors whose personal experience is rooted decades back in the origin of the Greenpeace movement . Over the decades we discovered that large staffs tend to perpetuate themselves at the expense of the issues; and paying for that staff overhead can become the driving force in your fundraising. Pretty soon, fundraising is the #1 priority, the entrenched administrative staff are #2, and the campaigns are a distant third. We’ve seen it happen too many times to too many groups. We rejected that model, and we like the results. With electronic mail linking volunteers across the planet, we find we can be very effective indeed.
Q: If your core staff is relatively small, who does all the work?
A: Greenpeace Foundation taps a huge resource: the energy and expertise of volunteers around the world. Moreover, where possible it supports under-funded projects of worthwhile individuals and groups, rather than re-inventing the wheel. Simply speaking, we don’t believe you have to be a Greenpeace employee to accomplish Greenpeace goals.
Q: Are you the organization that has been mailing me funding requests for years?
A: No. Although we could make large amounts of money by doing so, with mailing firms fronting the costs, we have never engaged in direct mail fundraising due to its horrendous cost-of-fundraising, in which as little as a few cents of a donor’s dollar may actually be spendable on programs. We prefer to leave the trees alone, and be known by the quality of our work rather than by the quantity of our mailings.
Q: Is Greenpeace Foundation associated with the organization Greenpeace USA?
A: No. We co-founded that organization in 1980 and worked in collaboration with it until 1985, but disassociated from it for good reasons at that time. A few of these reasons are alluded to in the “Greenpeace Movement” section of this site. Some of them are better left unsaid. We wish them well, and wish they’d get out of issues they are damaging, such as the tuna/dolphin issue.
Q: What is your relationship to Greenpeace International?
A: Greenpeace Foundation and its international efforts predated the establishment of GPINTL by four years. We have, in the past, conducted a number of high-profile campaigns in conjunction with Greenpeace International when campaign interests coincided. We applaud much of their current work and disagree with some of it; for instance, what we perceive as an “anti-USA” bias which has undercut U.S. conservation laws in favor of international “free trade”. Greenpeace Foundation is the only “greenpeace” organization on the planet not controlled in some manner by Greenpeace International.
Q: Do you have T-shirts I can buy?
A: Not at this time.
In fact, we got sick of selling T-shirts during the many years when we believed selling T-shirts was a good way to raise money for environmental campaigns. We were wrong! Unless you’re a dedicated T-shirt retailer, you can lose your shirt trying to merchandise. The incident that turned us off the most was probably when a branch office director ordered many thousands of dollars worth of Paul Winter “Common Ground” t-shirts, all on black shirts sized medium and small. We ended up sending them to the Rongalapese in 1985 when GPINTL sent the Rainbow Warrior down to evacuate them to the isle of Ebadon, on the last mission before French terrorists sank it New Zealand. There were enough shirts that even today they are probably common in the Marshall Islands. We do love T-shirts, though, and If enough people ask for them, we may add a “shirt” page to the website in the future.
Q: I (or my child) have a report due for school soon. Will you fax or mail me materials to do it?
A: Sorry, no. Please feel free to make use of the information on this web site, though.
Q: Why don’t you start also working on (insert new issue here)?
A: To be effective we have to keep a pretty tight focus. So saying, our efforts are limited only by the resources of people willing to do the work. Would you care to volunteer to research and work on this issue, or make a contribution to accomplish it? If so, drop us a line through the “get involved” section of this website and we’ll discuss it.
Q: Do you do campaigns against nuclear energy and toxic waste?
A: We have done highly effective targeted campaigns on these issues in the past when there was a clear environmental threat that could be credibly addressed; but our focus has always been the marine environment, and particularly whales and dolphins.
Q: How are your relations with the U.S. military?
A: The U.S. military has been one of the chief sources of high-quality volunteers for us over the years. We sometimes get involved with individual military actions where we feel we must be advocates for wildlife and the environment, but in general we hold the U.S. military and its men and women in high regard.
Q: Can I get a job working with you?
A: As a matter of policy, we have few to no paid positions at any given time, and those which are tend to be specialties for which volunteer labor isn’t available. If you are sufficiently “well off” to be able to work without pay, you should contact us and say so. There is always a need for good, committed people.
Q: Do you accept donations from corporations?
A: You bet we do! The reason this question is often asked is that the groups GPUSA/GPINTL apparently have (or used to have) a public policy of not accepting money from corporations. This doesn’t make sense to us; a policy like that would keep us from taking a donation from Ben & Jerry’s while allowing us to take money from a foreign dictator. We encourage caring corporations and their employees to get involved with us in the work of protecting the earth, and we don’t compromise our ethics for anyone.
And hey, this just in: nonprofit organizations like Greenpeace Foundation ARE corporations!
Q: Do you have an Intern program?
A: Not at this time.
We hope to have one in the future, though this will be dependent upon grants specifically received for this purpose. Feel free to drop us an e-mail if you’d like to be contacted in the future, or if you already have obtained a personal grant to conduct intern work.
Q: Do you run door-to-door canvassing operations?
A: No, we never have and don’t plan to. When done right, they can do some good, but it’s not our style. Canvassing uses up most of the money it raises in overhead costs, and we’ve never been convinced that people like to be solicited in their homes by strangers at the door.
The USA’s oldest and original Greenpeace, proudly unaffiliated with Greenpeace USA