Clothes to Kids, headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, provides thousands of low-income school-age children with five outfits, twice a year. These school outfits include tops, bottoms, shoes, jackets, and accessories. Everything the children receive, except socks and underwear, is donated. Like Clothes-to-Kids, your organization may depend upon in-kind donations, or it may involve only small but essential resources, like the volunteer labor of your board.
You may be surprised to find in-kind listed as a nonprofit income source list. After all, in-kind is not cash. Yet, its impact is huge. Why do I include it? Looking at in-kind as a source can help your nonprofit to think differently. While money will work to solve your need, you need the resources that money buys. Obtaining the right in-kind allows you to skip the cash step and obtain your need. (See the second equation below.) This article invites you to look at in-kind in fresh ways as a first step to maximizing it.
Figure 1: Gifts of Money vs. In-kind
In-kind is nonprofit jargon for gifts-in-kind. In-kind represents goods or services you receive for little or no cash. In some cases, in-kind includes resources you cannot buy, like the endorsement of a media star. All nonprofits receive this source of support, often in donated goods, discounts, and services.
In-kind donations take five forms:
Good360 (formerly Gifts-in-kind International), Tech Soup, and the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources represent several large international organizations developed to facilitate in-kind goods. Tech Soup, for instance, provides nonprofits with steep discounts on software. If your organization uses a lot of goods, check with these organizations.
Yes, it represents one of seven sources of nonprofit income.
Leaders need to learn about their nonprofits’ experience with in-kind. Starter questions include:
The board’s role here involves oversight and resourcing, including issues like:
In-kind gifts are a wonder of the nonprofit world. No other sector enjoys and can take advantage of them like nonprofits. To take full advantage of your in-kind opportunities, focus on what you need, explore how to fill those needs, take actions, and set up barriers to keep unwanted items out.
For more answers, check out this Nonprofit CEO Library.
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