Don’t underestimate the value of in-kind services and resources

Don’t underestimate the value of in-kind services and resourcesEveryone needs money – and every nonprofit needs cash or cash equivalents. These are used to meet payroll, pay the rent, fund programs, services, advocate, and more. Cash is king, but you can expand your fund development and fundraising to include in-kind resources.

With this column we are talking about in-kind gifts and services that are of value to your organization. Think about technology, a new building, executive coaching, marketing, office furnishings, and other goods or services that you would otherwise purchase. Think of items that add value, that you need, and which you might not otherwise afford.

Yes, you’ll need to deploy the same energy, planning, and strategizing as you would for “regular” fundraising: don’t discount the work involved. But, when you are strategic you can engage an additional group of donors and supporters that complements – and may overlap – your current pool of donors and funders.

Here are five things to consider as you build an in-kind program:

  1. Develop an in-kind gift policy. You have to know what you will accept, what you won’t accept and how the gift will be valued. Engage your development team and your finance team.
  2. Define what you need. What are the goods and services your organization needs, and who in your community provides these? Develop lists, access relationships, develop cultivation strategies, and define your pitch: what do you need and why?
  3. Learn who to approach. Talk to people within the local business community to learn which businesses and corporations have in-kind service programs and how their programs work.
  4. Review your current pool of donors, volunteers, and board members to learn who already has relationships with businesses or individuals who can give the in-kind goods or services your nonprofit needs. While there are limitations to how donations are accounted for by businesses on their taxes, that doesn’t mean there are limitations on what a business – and the people within a business – will give to help your organization.
  5. Learn which businesses align with your nonprofit’s mission and vision. Build one or two strong partnerships that endure over time, add value to the businesses and their employees, and that help your nonprofit meet its strategic goals.

Here are five benefits that come with an in-kind program.

  1. Lower fundraising costs when securing in-kind goods and services that off-set fundraising expenses
  2. An additional or alternative way for donors to give
  3. Access to talent and resources you would otherwise be unable to afford
  4. An alternative way to cultivate and engage prospective cash donors
  5. Increased confidence and momentum among fundraising volunteers and staff

A well planned and executed in-kind program can become a pillar of your fundraising. It can even become volunteer driven. Take the time to make in-kind gifts a part of your fund development program.

Two resources to consider:

Strengthen Your Bottom Line: Securing In-kind Donations

What You Need to Know to Make the Most of Corporate Pro Bono Opportunities at Your Nonprofit

Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

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