How does Pass The Hat work?
Your $2 per month is pooled with the $2 per month from other members of our community. That money is then distributed to help relieve financial burdens of Whatcom County community members who are victims of tragedy, crime or disaster in our community. See our How it Works tab for more info.
What qualifies as “tragedy” or “disaster”?
We define a tragic event as an event that causes a sudden and unexpected loss of life or that has significant life-changing impact on an individual or family, such as a house fire, paralysis, etc.
Doesn’t the American Red Cross, United Way or some other organization fill the same need as Pass The Hat?
No. In doing extensive research and connecting with existing organizations, we learned that there is a great unmet need in our community to provide financial relief.
Do my contributions stay local?
Yes, 100% stays right here in Whatcom County helping local families.
What percentage of my $2 goes to operating expenses as opposed to the cause?
Our operating expenses are actually very low. We are a 100% volunteer-run organization, and Heritage Bank has generously partnered with us to significantly lower our banking and credit card fees. We also have no physical store front to pay rent for. About 80% of your contribution goes directly to the cause. It’s very important to us to keep our expenses low and to put every single dime to the best use possible.
As a contributor, do I get input into where the money goes?
We have a very qualified and diverse Appropriations Committee that determines the greatest need in our community and distributes your contributions where they’re needed most. Click here to see who’s on our committee.
How is the money I donate distributed to the victims of tragedy?
The money will be used to pay directly for services and expenses created by the event. This may include funeral services, emergency medical expenses, counseling, etc. To ensure their proper use, funds are paid directly to the service providers rather than to individuals.
Is my monthly contribution tax deductible?
No. We are a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, but your donations are not tax deductible. For further questions about tax deductions, please consult an accountant.
Are you a 501(c)(3)?
We are a actually a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. Maintaining 501(c)(3) status is an onerous task and unnecessary to carry out our mission. Pass The Hat has chosen to allocate resources to the highest and best use, which doesn’t include becoming a 501(c)(3).
Is my debit/credit card information safe?
Absolutely. All transactions are processed and held through Heritage Bank using Gravity Payments Merchant Services. Your card information will never be accessible to Pass The Hat or even stored in our systems. It’s as safe and secure as banking online. We have a fully secured https site and are fully PCI compliant. Even if our site were to be compromised, your info is completely safe.
Can I give more than $2/month?
Nope. No person pulls more weight than another. Our model is based on the idea that many hands make light work. If you want to give more, get more people to sign up, starting with everyone in your household. That’s simply how it works.
How else can I help?
- Share the idea with your friends and family. Once you’ve done that, do it again. The more we have on board, the more impact your $2 makes.
- Your workplace can also partner with us (see next question).
Can my business be involved?
Yes! Companies and organizations can partner with Pass The Hat through our Employee Matching Program. Partnering businesses contribute an amount equal to what their employees contribute. See our partnering businesses on our Partners page.
I don’t live in Whatcom County, can I still contribute?
I am the victim of a tragedy, how do I apply for relief?
Most of our referrals come directly from local law enforcement and community crisis organizations who we have built relationships with. However, from time-to-time, we do fund cases that have been brought to our attention by community members. Those cases should only involve victims and families who would otherwise fall through the cracks. Before contacting us about these cases, please confirm that relief funding will not (now or in the future) come from insurance settlements, GoFundMe, victim’s religious community or other charitable resources.
How much money do the tragedy victims receive?
The amounts can vary based on the needs of any given situation, but the amount always will have a meaningful effect. The more people we have signed up, the more powerful impact we will make in our community.
What if I want to cancel my monthly contribution?
No problem. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting to cancel your contribution and we will immediately honor your request. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer refunds of any kind, but you are welcome to cancel at any time.