In-Kind donations can powerfully support the operations of your nonprofit, community-based organization. They can also create a norm of taking crappy things pretending that they’re great because they’re free. The office environment eventually communicates that norm (and suggested values) to your staff team and the community.
Examples of Crappy Norms:
1 | Did you take those lobby chairs from a free give away? Do they have old gum on them and carry a strange, uneasy smell? Then why are you having your clients and other guests sitting on them!? (If you have no other options, although we provide a list of other options below, consider this resource by Diane Henkler.)
2 | Are your cubicle walls a stale yellow tint from the 30-years that they were in a local governmental office? Were they gifted to your organization by a generous Board Member? Why are you brining down your staff team’s morale with ugly, outdated walls that surround them all day? (If you have no other options, although we provide a list of other options below, consider this resource by Melanie Pinola.)
3 | Are your Board Members continuously donating their specializations rather than donating money? Are they so generous as to give more in specialization then you could dream of? Why are your Board Policies not following best-practices to require both liquid mula and specializations to be contributed by Board Members? (More on this below.)
1 | Create a one-page In-Kind Contributions Guide and Policy that ensures that there is alignment between the organizational values and the In-Kind Contributions that your organization engages.
2 | Train all staff and volunteers with the new Guide and Policy in order to empower their understanding of your organizational coherency and standards.
Tools to Support You in Rocking In-Kind Donations
The 2 Tips are action-focused, but they also rub-off on your organizational norms. For example, when staff, volunteers, and Board Members are reminded about the organizational values and how to remain in alignment with them, everyone gets a “face-lift” around how to see and interpret the organization.
Let’s get you started with enacting the 2 Tips. Check out the tools below:
(a) Strategies for developing In-Kind Donation Guidelines, from Anchoring Success
Such Guidelines create unity and clarity on the practices involved in garnering and receiving in-kind donations. As you finalize your organization’s Guidelines document, keep in mind the following:
|| Restate the organizational mission and values to remind readers that in-kind donations practices must be aligned with the organization.
|| Include an effective data for the longevity of the Guidelines.
|| State the definitions of terms and phrases early on so that readers are “on the same page” as they begin to digest the actual Guidelines.
|| List the types of in-kind donations that are acceptable, including the make, model, year, color, and previous usage of items. Be specific here as this is the core of the Guidelines document.
|| Be collaborative. Bring a draft version to the next staff meeting for feedback and discussion. Then move the document into its final stage.
|| Finally, put in your calendar to review the Guidelines every year for practical updates.
(Please note: If you obtain over $25,000 in non-cash donations throughout the year, you may have to file a ‘schedule M’ on your 990. Always speak with your financial leadership.)
(b) Board of Directors In-Kind Donation Tools, from BoardSource
These tools are helpful because they serve as idea generators and templates for your Board of Directors commitment to financial pledges, often referred to as the 3 T’s: Time, Talent, and Treasure. Check-out the following:
Why Board Members Should Give Financially (not just in-kind specializations)
(c) Quick references about the ways that the work environment impacts organizational norms
Hey, Nonprofit Offices. 1985 Called and It Wants Its Taupe Walls Back. by Melissa Batchelor Warnke (Cheeky article, but makes the point)
(d) Resources for out-of-the-ordinary high-quality in-kind donations
Create an in-kind donation Amazon List modeled by Marleys Mutt
Find corporate sponsors to furnish your office modeled by Charity: Water
Find pro bono talent through Taproot’s tool
Garner refurbished computers from the service by TechSoup
Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro, PhD
Why did we develop 2 Tips videos?
We know that many professionals and organizational leaders do not have the funds to partner with specialists (like us) and/or the time to strategize on what might seem like extra projects.
We launched these 2 Tips videos to support you with making tweaks, adjustments, and refinements in programs and operations — doable for busy professionals like you!