How Nonprofits Can Score New, Donated Merchandise

NAEIR Arranges Gifts in Kind Donations for Nonprofits

Imagine what your nonprofit could do with, say, $18,000 in brand new donated merchandise this year. Furthermore, imagine you could select just what you need from thousands of first quality items—year after year—to help your organization achieve its goals.

It’s very doable, if you know the right resource.

Gifts in kind organizations are one of the great secrets of the nonprofit world. If you haven’t heard of them, you owe it to yourself to learn more about them—specifically, America’s largest, oldest gifts in kind organization, NAEIR.

How Gifts in Kind Organizations Work

NAEIR, the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources, collects inventory from companies that donate to nonprofit organizations, then redistributes that inventory to its nonprofit members upon request.

Every year, NAEIR gives away more than $100 million in spanking new merchandise. NAEIR’s free stuff for nonprofits include office supplies, arts and craft supplies, educational products, books, media, toys, party goods, cleaning supplies, sporting goods, software, and much more.

That $18,000 we mentioned earlier? That’s the average value of free items received by NAEIR’s top-level members every year. Some members have actually received up to $40,000 in free resources in just one year.  The more you request, the more you benefit.

NAEIR has partnered with more than 8,000 donor companies to date, including leading brands like Microsoft, Stanley Tools, 3M, Rubbermaid, Rand McNally, Reebok, Gillette, Xerox, SC Johnson, and more. In return for their IRS charitable contributions of gifts in kind, these corporations receive significant tax deductions. In addition, it’s an easy way for them to clear overstocked merchandise out of their warehouses, while meeting their community-giving goals.

Is Your Group Eligible to Join NAEIR?

To qualify for a NAEIR membership, you must be affiliated with a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, school or church. Members include charities, community organizations, government institutions, health facilities and more.

The first step is to complete an online application at Nonprofits pay a modest annual membership fee—ranging from $59-$595, depending on your chosen membership level—plus nominal shipping and/or handling fees for the merchandise they request.

(By the way, the membership fee is waived for individual educators, who can augment their classroom supply budget with useful free stuff for teachers.)

Rules for Using in Kind Donations for Nonprofits

Members can view available supplies any time on NAEIR’s website and request what they need online. Premier Members also receive printed catalogs of merchandise throughout the year.

The rules of how you may use donated stock are very straightforward. According to Internal Revenue Code section 170(e) (3), donated merchandise must be used for the care of the ill, needy or minors. It can’t be bartered, traded or sold, and must be given directly to qualifying individuals served by an organization or used in the organization’s administration.

At the end of the day, belonging to a gifts-in-kind organization costs members a fraction of what it would cost to purchase the same supplies in stores or online.

1 Million Pencils: How One Nonprofit Used Gifts-in-Kind Donations

The Teacher’s Desk, a nonprofit in Buffalo, New York, exists to provide free books and school supplies to classrooms in impoverished schools. It was founded by John Mika, a retired autoworker turned teacher.

On the first day of school, Mika was disturbed to find that only three of his students actually had pencils. So in addition to other gathering general school supplies, he launched an initiative, the Pencil Project. His goal: to donate one million pencils to students in need.

Did he achieve his goal? Yes, with help from generous local corporations—and also from NAEIR, which provided thousands upon thousands of pencils.

Maybe you don’t need pencils. But maybe you do need office supplies for your administrative office or clothing and housewares for your clientele. Or something else entirely. Whatever that is, you’ll undoubtedly find goods you can use at NAEIR. And it’s yours for the asking.

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