In kind Donations

Let’s take a look at the three basic types of in-kind donations: goods, services, and people.

Goods are just about anything that isn’t money – for example, a car, paper, equipment, or furniture. Goods are a vital non-cash resource for any organization. You can find goods everywhere: in homes, businesses, governments, and civic groups. They can be used or surplus, or they can be new products and merchandise. They can also be loaned, or they can be purchased cooperatively with another group.

Goods are a money substitute. Cash and in-kind resources such as goods make up a total resource package.

Some examples:

– Equipment and furniture, including computers and photocopiers.
– Supplies, including paper, filing folders, and other necessary office supplies.
– Space, including maintenance and utilities.
– Food that people bring to your regular meetings

Services are often grouped with goods as in-kind gifts. Many overlook services because, with few exceptions, services are not tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Some companies deduct the time used in performing a charitable service as a normal business expense. Others consider community service a business function and keep no record of its performance. Yet, services are a major source of support to successful nonprofit groups.

Corporations are the best-known contributors, but the giving of services is undoubtedly a community-wide practice. Small businesses, vendors, colleges, other nonprofits, individual professionals, and tradespeople all have services to offer. Everyone providing services for a fee is probably also providing it free, or at a discount, to some worthy cause.

Examples of services include:

– Printing
– Website hosting
– Transportation

People are the key to all resources in most service-oriented nonprofit groups. People resources are persons giving their time free of charge, for a small fee, or for payment by a third party on a nonprofit’s behalf. Anyone who offers your group technical assistance or consultation, or who provides financial services and bookkeeping, or who volunteers to be a member of your board, is making an in-kind donation to your group.

People resources are not only volunteers. People do volunteer their services, but employers may “loan” their paid employees to work on community efforts.

Because people are everywhere, know everyone and do everything, their resource potential is unlimited. The challenge is to discover how to use the most people, in the best combination, to your organization’s greatest advantage. Some possible ways – besides volunteering to help provide services, as they may in an educational or recreational organization, for example – that people can help your operation:

– Clerical help.
– Child care for special events.
– Fundraising.
– Legal, accounting, or other professional services

Examples of in-kind support:

Having your local high school or town government – if they have a printing department – print your group’s invitations to a community-wide meeting.

Housing your group meetings in a building of the local state college. Having access to the college’s photocopiers, and receiving help from them in doing your mailings.

Having coalition members bring snacks and drinks to a meeting.

Asking store owners to donate items for use in a fundraising raffle.

Inviting skilled volunteers, such as carpenters, painters, or a local handyman, to fix up donated street-level office space that your coalition will use.

Receiving old office furniture from a law firm that’s redecorating its own offices.