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Grassroots Fundraising:
Gifts in Kind

by Doug Nash

Gifts in kind is the term used when donors give goods or services instead of cash. There are numerous reasons why some donors prefer this method. From distrust in the giving of cash to this method being better suited to both the receiver and the donor, i.e. donation of precooked or prepackaged food.

Asking for gifts in kind instead of cash gives you extra dimensions when fundraising. This kind of donations is a real boost when running auctions, raffles, handing out rewards and other similar activities. You will rarely be offered a donation of this sort that you can't use to your benefit. Although some may require a little lateral thinking and imagination to achieve the advantage.

You should always make yourself aware of any kind of risks, if any, associated with any donation, gifts in kind are no exception. Before accepting the donation you should use common sense and if applicable proper investigation to ensure that no `nasty surprises are attached to the donation. If you are not sure then seek proper counsel before accepting the gift.

Here are a few questions to answer to your satisfaction before accepting:

  • Will you obtain full, clear and proper ownership of the gift? Is it proper that you accept such a gift?
  • Does the donor have the right and authority to donate the gift?
  • What risks and possible costs will your organisation incur by acceptance and use of the gift?
  • What are the legal requirements of your organisation? If a receipt is to be issued on acceptance of the gift? This is concerning gifts of large value. A rough guide is gifts of over a thousand dollars, but it is your duty of care that you know exactly what the legal and tax requirements are in your area or state to determine what is a large value.
  • What are the ramifications if the donor has a financial or committee connection with your organisation?
  • Should you contact an independent valuer before issuing a receipt? Or is there someone in your organisation that has the expertise and legal requirements to do the valuation?

These are just a few of the questions that should be answered to your satisfaction before acceptance. This is not a comprehensive list, so apply common sense to your situation and don't be afraid to ask questions before committing yourself. You may be saving your self and your organisation some painful and costly times ahead.

Apply the old saying 'if it looks too good to be true then it probably is!' and act accordingly.

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About the Author:

Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at for more fundraising ideas.

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