Nonprofits play crucial roles in their communities. Whether they are schools, churches, health organizations, government agencies or a myriad of others, nonprofits offer services to help people in need or crisis and support families in a variety of ways. However, most nonprofits just don’t have enough resources to provide support to every vulnerable member of their communities.
That’s why gifts-in-kind organizations are so valuable. After paying a small membership fee, they enable nonprofits to obtain free items that can support their charitable activities.
A gifts in kind program solicits donations of new merchandise from American corporations and redistributes that merchandise to nonprofits at no cost other than a small yearly membership fee and the cost of shipping/handling the items they select. Participants can include schools, social service agencies, housing authorities, police and fire departments and churches.
In cases where a struggling family is in need of an intervention, a gifts in kind organization can provide crucial items like blankets, toiletries, and household supplies. Furthermore, it’s an affordable resource nonprofits can use for various activities and maintenance.
Recently, a church received beautiful windows through the efforts of the program. This renovation would have been an expensive undertaking, but because they were members, the church was able to dedicate the funds that might have been spent on this costly purchase to supplement its own mission programs.
In today’s economy, many families are experiencing desperate circumstances and must turn to nonprofits for assistance. This means the call for household goods and supplies is great. Thankfully, membership in a gifts-in-kind organization allows nonprofits to obtain top notch merchandise for free. Members can browse a huge catalog of donated merchandise and request what they want or need.
Companies like Microsoft, Stanley Tools, 3M, Rubbermaid, Rand McNally, Reebok, Gillette, Xerox, Hallmark and thousands of others make such contributions, supporting charitable causes while at the same time taking advantage of tax deductions, reducing storage costs, clearing warehouse space and avoiding hassles with liquidators. Items donated include office supplies, class materials, clothing and shoes, maintenance items, tools and hardware, toys and games, computer software, sporting goods, books, tapes, CDs, arts and crafts, personal care items, holiday and party items, janitorial supplies and more.
Nonprofit groups usually pay a small fee to join and nominal shipping and handling charges to participate in the program, but the merchandise itself is free. The gifts-in-kind organization handles sorting, processing, cataloging and redistribution of the merchandise.
Organizations that participate are required to use the merchandise in accordance with IRC section 170(e) (3). This states that the merchandise must be used for the care of the ill, needy or minors and cannot be bartered, traded or sold. The merchandise can be given directly to the qualifying individuals served by an organization or used in the administration of the organization.
For more information, non profits can call 1-800-562-0955 or visit NAEIR’s website at www.naeir.org.
Gary C. Smith is the president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR), the oldest and largest gifts-in-kind organization in the country. NAEIR solicits and receives donations of excess inventory from American corporations and distributes the material to a membership base of more than 13,000 charities. It has collected and redistributed over $3 billion worth of new, donated supplies and equipment since its founding. NAEIR members average more than $18,000 worth of free products per year for their organizations. www.NAEIR.org