I have read that donors should not write the name of a missionary directly on their checks to churches or mission agencies. Rather, they should include it on a separate piece of paper. I have always believed this to be an urban legend. Isn't the real issue whether the church or agency has direct control over the gift, and therefore gifts would still be deductible even if the missionary's name was written on the check?
However, if after making the gift, a donor is still able to direct the use of the funds, the gift is most likely not deductible. A church or mission agency must avoid becoming a conduit, particularly for someone who may otherwise be expected to assist the recipient regardless of a charitable motivation. For example, a father who donates to a church school seeking for the donation to cover his child's education should not receive credit for a charitable contribution.
For more details on this issue, follow the links below: