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Maximizing In-Kind Donations During COVID

Maximizing In-Kind Donations During COVID

Do More Good is a Nonprofit Connect Business Member that creates capacity-building technology solutions for the nonprofit community, including Re.Use.Full, a new website that connects people with gently used items to the nonprofits that could use them. Re.Use.Full is currently recruiting nonprofits that are in need of in-kind donations. Learn more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our economy and forced many nonprofit organizations into survival mode. While corporate and individual donors might have less cash to give because they’ve experienced financial stress or are proceeding with caution because they’re afraid they might, there is another easy way for donors to feel like they’re making a difference that won’t hit their bank account.
Non-cash, or in-kind donations, can be in the form of goods, professional services or other resources, like storage space, a special event venue or advertising. Your organization may have received items for your silent auction or benefitted from pro bono social media support, but rethinking how you can integrate in-kind donations into your fundraising plan can help you make those precious cash donations go further. Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

  1. Think through the kinds of items your organization needs that you are currently spending cash to purchase. Could you free up those resources by asking your donors to provide them? Is it possible gently used items might work just as well? Are you letting your supporters know that you’ll gladly take their still-good clothing, books, toys or furniture? Do you encourage them to think of you when they replace their computer that’s still way newer than many in your office? Do you promote your Amazon Wish List, which gives them an opportunity to quickly send new items you might need, like cleaning supplies to keep your employees and those you serve safe?
  1. Know what you will or won’t accept before a donor offers it. The best way to do that is by having a gift acceptance policy in place. This will provide an objective way to vet in-kind donations and something to lean on if you need to gracefully decline an in-kind donation. When developing it, you should ask yourself:
  • What kinds of gifts advance your mission and align with your organization’s values?
  • What kinds of gifts conflict with your mission or organization’s values?
  • Who will you accept gifts from (individuals, corporations, governments)?
  • What kinds of gifts are only accepted with review (your own or legal counsel) to ensure they meet your standards and don’t result in future headaches? Examples that might fall into this category are vehicles and real estate.
  • Do you have the means to either use the gifts in a timely manner or room to store them? This is especially relevant with perishable donations, like food, or large amounts of items a corporation might offer.
For help crafting your own gift acceptance policy, check out these examples from the National Council of Nonprofits.
  1. Understand how to record in-kind donations and what you’re obligated to provide the donor. Consult your tax professional to ensure your organization understands the tax implications of in-kind donations and be sure you’re ready to accept them. To get started, take a look at Wild Apricot’s In-kind Donations FAQ. It’s best to issue a receipt to the donor with the fair market value when you receive the gift, if possible.
While it may take some work up front and you’ll need to be sure you’re vigilant about spreading the word about this alternative to cash gifts, in-kind donations can offer donors unable or hesitant to give cash a way to help you cut costs and make better use of the funds you raise.

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