Updated at: 05-08-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

How can one tell if an in-kind contribution has been made? Donations other than cash, stocks, or bequests are considered non-monetary donations. You’ll need to read on to acquire a firmer understanding of this, as it’s a lot to take in at once.

Donations of services, goods, or expertise rather than monetary contributions are known as “in-kind donations.” This service can be provided by anyone, be they an individual, a team, or a business.

Stay attentive till the end of the article where we cover everything you need to know about in-kind gifts. We have created a collection of frequently asked questions concerning in-kind gifts to further inform you.

What Kind Of Gifts Are Considered In-Kind?

Things are referred to as “property” in common usage. If you own the rights to someone else’s intellectual property, you can provide them anything of value, including free office space and other services. In an in-kind giving, the giver foregoes monetary compensation in favor of providing a tangible item or highly skilled service. To illustrate, a local hardware store may provide wood for new playground seats, or a local graphic designer may design a logo for your business at no cost to you.

Gifts In Kind: Everything You Need To Know | Project HOPE

What Makes In-Kind Donation Great?

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can benefit greatly from charity donations since they provide access to services and items that would otherwise be out of reach. Food, clothing, and shelter are some of the most commonly donated items to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which include thrift stores and community storage lockers. While some NGOs may have less consistent needs for in-kind contributions, it’s possible that all NGOs could benefit from receiving some. Companies often prefer to give in-kind donations rather than monetary ones since it reduces their risk of a negative impact on their cash flow. Furthermore, since companies can save money by donating things instead of cash, we may see an increase in product donations from enterprises.

In-Kind Donation Issues

A present of this nature would only be presented with the greatest consideration. Giving something that needs constant repair, like an old rotary phone or a yacht, can make a person feel great. However, not all donations of goods and services qualify as efficient investments. Donating goods instead of money has the drawback that it doesn’t fit into your overall business plan. Unwanted in-kind presents can quickly pile up and make a home unusable. Gifts of expensive items like cars or houses could end up costing more in hassle than they’re worth.

Gifting those in need is a great way to inspire altruism, but it’s also a time-consuming and difficult process. It’s not always easy to get the charity kids to eat the healthy food they bring to practice.

Developing An Acceptance Policy for Gifts

To encourage the right kind of gifts while avoiding an office surplus of unnecessary items, consider instituting an acceptance policy. It is possible to choose which presents to accept and which to decline. Products will range in kind depending on the scope and scale of your enterprise.

Talking to your company’s tax expert will teach you the ins and outs of documenting, naming, and reporting in-kind donations. On the other side, you will have a better understanding of the significance of in-kind donations and the obligations that come with them.

#1. Are tax deductions available for gifts of in-kind services?

It is advised that you consult a tax professional before deducting in-kind donations from your salary, although this is not always the case.

#2. How to document donations?

It’s becoming difficult to keep track of gifts-in-kind. Donors should be acknowledged and their contributions should be recorded in your general ledger, as well as any expenditures or assets at market value, by either you or your accountant. The price that an organization is expected to pay for a certain item can be used to calculate its market value. Such services should always be included in financial reporting since they require specialized skills and are provided by individuals with such skills.

#3. How a free service differs from a pro bono one?

It’s increasingly tough to keep track of gifts-in-kind. Donors should be acknowledged and their donations should be recorded in your general ledger, as well as any expenditures or assets at market value, by either you or your accountant. The price that an organization is expected to pay for a given item can be used to calculate its market value. Such services should always be included in financial reporting since they involve specialized skills and are supplied by individuals with such talents.

#4. How much would your business have paid on similar things if you bought them on the open market?

Keeping track of in-kind donations is getting increasingly cumbersome. You or your accountant should keep a general ledger in which all transactions, including donations from donors, are recorded at their fair market value. The market value of an object can be determined by how much a reasonable buyer would pay for it in a business setting. Due to the high level of expertise required and the specific skillsets required by the people who supply these services, they must always be accounted for in the financials.

Draft policies and procedures to get the most out of in-kind gifts

Many charities only accept monetary contributions, but there are many other ways to help. Here is a guide for assessing the value of in-kind donations and making long-term plans for them.

Defining in-kind contributions

In contrast to monetary gifts, “in-kind” contributions consist of in-kind items, services, or volunteer hours.

Example tangibles are tools, books, vehicles, apparel, home furnishings, and provisions. Advertising, patents, royalties, and copyrights are examples of intangible goods. Products can be brand new, used, or even borrowed.

Things that can be touched and handled include tools, literature, vehicles, apparel, home furnishings, and other supplies. Advertising, patents, royalties, and copyrights are examples of intangible products. Products may be new, used, or even borrowed.

In-kind contributions as a revenue source

The value of in-kind contributions to nonprofits cannot be overstated. This, however, is only part of the story.

If one of your organization’s goals is to outfit the homeless, for instance, you may find that gifts-in-kind are helpful. Program and activity costs for nonprofits can be reduced by the acceptance of other in-kind donations. Donations in kind could be used to reduce a nonprofit’s reliance on cash for expenses like payroll.

Many organizations that serve the public rely on in-kind contributions rather than monetary donations to grow their endowments and reach new audiences.

Establishing the value of in-kind contributions

When a nonprofit receives a donation in kind, the organization must account for the donation’s fair market value as income. The price at which you can sell an asset or get paid to transfer a liability is known as fair value.

  • If your organization receives goods or services instead of cash, you must account for their fair market worth as revenue. The price at which you can sell an asset or get paid to transfer a liability is known as fair value.
  • When a charity receives a gift in kind, it must count the item’s fair market value as income. Fair value refers to the amount an asset can be sold for or a liability can be transferred for.
  • Use a pay survey to determine the market value of the skills needed to perform the charitable service.

Use the same value method consistently, and be transparent about it in your reports.

Benefits and risks of in-kind contributions

It is possible that giving presents of products and services is not worth the time and money involved. You may not be able to properly manage and maintain the value of a gift, such as real estate, or it may go against your organization’s goal and ideals to accept it.

In-Kind Donation: Your Guide to Raising Money without Raising Money | ClickTime

How do you evaluate the value of a gift in kind? Create your own rules on how to handle gift receipts to get started. Having a clear policy in place will help your organization better manage donor expectations and provide clarity for your staff and board.

Your policy on accepting gifts needs to cover the following points:

  • There are certain kinds of gifts that are acceptable and others that are not.
  • Certain types of presents are welcome while others are frowned upon.
  • Before receiving gifts of real estate, for instance, your nonprofit may conduct a review and consult with legal counsel.
  • To what extent anonymous donations are tolerated

Donors would appreciate it if you make your policy easily accessible online or in hard copy.

Establish parameters for in-kind contributions

Create a system to record and publicly recognize in-kind contributions.

Gift agreements

Large gifts in kind (such as construction materials for disaster relief) or gifts in kind that come with complicated donor criteria may need the use of a formal gift agreement. Make sure you and the donor have a shared understanding of the donation’s intended use. As an added bonus, it can be used as a point of reference in the event of a disagreement. An informal agreement could be useful to ensure that the needs of both parties are addressed over time.

In your donation agreement, make sure to cover the following points:

  • Please include the donor’s and the donor’s name in any non-public reports of your non-name profit.
  • If applicable, please include the beginning and ending dates.
  • the item and its presentation explained
  • Donor-stated motivation for giving and the strategies your organization will employ to fulfill that motivation.
  • When and how will your group publicly thank the donor?
  • A commitment that your organization has made or will make in the near future.
  • Provision recognizing that unforeseen events may cause the gift’s original intent to change

In-kind forms

Create an in-kind donation form to facilitate reporting and recognition of gifts. Make a list of what you need and send it to your donors.

  • Specify the item’s age and condition, as well as whether or not it has been used.
  • Date of receipt of donation by your organization’s charity
  • It’s important to know who the donor is.

Gift acknowledgment forms

Who the donor is is crucial information.

As a matter of etiquette, below is what should normally be included in a gift acknowledgment:

  • Please include the donor’s and the donor’s name in any non-public reports of your non-name profit.
  • A statement affirming that your organization qualifies as a 501(c)(3) under IRS law (3)
  • A concise description of the gift with no monetary value attached.
  • If applicable, a statement that the organization did not provide any services or commodities in exchange for the donation.
  • Please describe the items or services your organization provided in exchange for the donation.

The value of an in-kind donation depends on the giver, but it’s appropriate to acknowledge it as a gesture of thanks regardless. You may say something like, “Without your kind contribution, we would have had to spend __________ to get this.”

Each donor can be thanked personally or in a yearly summary that must be sent out no later than January 31. Sending a message of thanks quickly after receiving a gift is an excellent way to show appreciation and build relationships. Doing so will not only show the giver their gift was received, but will also enhance your relationship with them.

Examples of written agreements

You should look at samples of contracts created by other organizations in your field before drafting your own.

Check out similar agreements in your sector before drafting a new one for your nonprofit.

Use Blue Avocado’s sample acknowledgement letter as a template for your own thank-you notes.

Evaluating the impact of in-kind contributions

The value of contributions made in kind may be hard to ascertain. Remember the value of in-kind donations to the success of your organization.

Let’s pretend for a moment that the mission of your non-profit is to build a museum and attract 50,000 new visitors over the course of the next five years. After the first year of receiving $10,000 in in-kind ads and banners, an increase in revenue or traffic can be attributed to the free promotion.

The value of an in-kind donation can be estimated by looking at how much money would have been spent on something similar if the donor hadn’t given it.

Finally, make sure that newsletters, social media, and other promotional materials highlight your successes. It’s possible that this will inspire some people to try it out for themselves.


What qualifies as in-kind donation?

Donations of cash and other forms of currency are examples of in-kind contributions. In-kind donations are those that consist of services or products rather than monetary contributions. Donations in kind include things like computers, software, furniture, and office equipment that can be used by your group or auctioned off at events.

What is the definition of in kind donation?

Businesses and corporations are the primary source of in-kind gifts to nonprofits, meaning they provide both financial support and actual goods or services. The monetary value of in-kind gifts made by businesses should be recorded on the budgets of nonprofit organizations in the same amount.

If you get a donation of $15,000 worth of computer equipment, you must include that amount in your budget as in-kind income and expenses. However, businesses often overlook the significance of an in-kind donation.

Let me give you an illustration.

Are in-kind donations tax-deductible?

Donors may be able to take a tax deduction for their in-kind gifts, but this is something you and they should verify.

Are in-kind donations considered revenue?

Yes. Sales are evaluated by their current market value.

How do I document in-kind donations?

You or your accountant should include the in-kind donation as revenue and as an asset or expense with a fair market value in the general ledger and provide a note of gratitude.

What a charity would have paid for an item on the free market is used to determine its value. Non-monetary assets are recorded in financial statements if they are developed or improved through the supply of donated services or if they require the application of specialized skills and are offered by individuals who possess those qualities.

How should I recognize in-kind donations?

Acknowledgment letters to contributors should include complete contact information as well as relevant documentation showing when goods and services were received as well as by whom. It should also be made clear in this letter that the donors did not receive any substantial benefits or services in exchange for their contribution. It is not your role to assign a monetary value to in-kind donations; rather, that is the responsibility of the donors.

How do I record in-kind donations on form 990?

Contributions in the form of property, but not services, should be included on Form 990. The IRS recommends recording these on line 1 of Parts II and III of Schedule A, Part II of Schedule B, and, if applicable, column (c) of Schedule M. The monetary value of in-kind services is reflected in a reconciliation line item on Form 990.

What’s the difference between an in-kind gift and a pro bono service?

Donations of professional services in kind to non-governmental organizations are often referred to as “pro bono.” The expert is providing their services at no cost to the general people.

How do I figure out the value of an in-kind gift?

Find out how much an in-kind present is worth by doing some research. How much would these things have cost your organization if purchased at full retail? You can find them at stores where you normally make purchases of that kind. You should inquire about the hourly rate or the price they would have charged a paid client for the task they did for you if they had not donated their professional services.

Why giving cash, not clothing, is usually best after disasters

How to Get In-Kind Donations for Your Nonprofit

Nonprofit organizations have historically had difficulty securing financial support. Here’s how to kick off your in-kind giving:

What Are You Asking For?

Does it assist you reach your objectives if someone fixes your front stairs for free or if you receive six pounds of coffee for your book clubs instead of having to buy it?

As Arielle deliberated over her ideas, she came across several potential avenues for in-kind contributions.

Many kids in after-school sports programs couldn’t play because they didn’t have shoes that were appropriate for the sport. The charity presently spends about $1,000 annually on shoes for these purposes. Donations of goods rather than money could be very helpful.

There just wasn’t enough money for the group to buy gloves and balls for the students to use in private practice. Soliciting donations from a nearby sporting goods store or organizing a community-wide effort to gather gently used sports equipment are both viable options.

This release has not been updated for a while, therefore a lawyer will gladly go over it for free if you ask.

Start With Those You Know

If you want something badly enough, you should go ahead and ask for it. Get to know your board members, staff members, and volunteers first.

You should express your desires as soon as possible. Learn about the people who will be serving on your board, in your staff, and as volunteers.

Expand Your Reach

Keep digging by reaching out to local businesses and people.

Arielle put out an online appeal and “wish list” on her nonprofit’s website to solicit donations for sports gear. She reached out to local sporting goods stores through email, introduced herself and her organization, and asked for a meeting to discuss potential partnerships. After a week, she called again and was given a meeting with a manager.

Instead of collecting thousands of pairs of shoes, the organization decided to give out free water bottles to all the kids that came out. After rethinking her gift-acceptance policy, Arielle quickly accepted the donation.

It’s A Wrap!

If you have made it this far, I will assume that you are familiar with the concept of an in-kind donation. Donations of all kinds, not just money, are mentioned here.