The In-Kind Donations You Need

In this episode of the Nonprofit Jenni Show podcast, I talked to my guests about how they secure in-kind donations for their organizations, how they brainstorm the types of donations they need, and how they can partner with corporations to receive these donations. My guests were Angie Adams from PENCIL Foundation (formally with the Nashville Ballet, Cheekwood Gardens, and many other amazing organizations) and Melissa Spradlin from Book'em and several community planning organizations.

Please note: I highly encourage you to listen to the In-Kind Donations You Need podcast episode before reading this blog post! My blog lists some great “action items” for you to take after you listen to the podcast, plus additional resources you can check out if you have further questions. However, my podcast guests give so much additional rich information which isn’t included in the article you’re about the read.

Angie and Melissa both had many diverse examples of in-kind donations they receive with their organizations. Here are some they listed:

  • Saint Thomas Health tutors and mentors 130 local high school students who are working toward careers in healthcare.
  • Many companies host school supply drives, book drives, collections of food for low-income students, and coat drives for students who have to walk to school and can't afford new coats.
  • Families can "donate a birthday" and ask guests at birthday parties to bring item donations instead of gifts for the person celebrating their birthday.
  • Catering companies, restaurants, and event spaces donate food and space for fundraising and awareness events.
  • TWO MEN AND A TRUCK donates their moving services to deliver massive book donations.
  • Volunteers and board members volunteer their expertise in professional areas such as IT, marketing, and accounting.
  • Companies can contribute silent auction items which they regularly sell.

Businesses can often provide larger and more donations than individuals can afford. And companies often want to get involved in charitable campaigns because of the marketing opportunities, opportunities to find future employees, and to engage their current employees. Here are some of the ways Angie and Melissa have found businesses who contribute in-kind donations:

  • Word-of-mouth suggestions from board members and volunteers who work for charitable companies
  • Public speaking opportunities
  • Reading about new companies coming into town who may want to contribute, or companies who are moving who may need to get rid of old supplies, such as office furniture
  • Thinking through your current needs and approaching companies who supply those items
  • Thinking through companies who share a similar long-term goal as your organization (for example, if a company sells children's books, they have a long-term vested interest in childhood literacy)
  • Find other nonprofit organizations who have a similar mission who may have extra items they don't need (for example, Book'em may partner with Nashville Diaper Connection to get baby wipes they can use to clean their books)

Angie and Melissa also have plenty of in-kind donors who are individuals looking to give back. Here are some ways you can find these individuals:

  • The Hands On/Points of Light network
  • Word-of-mouth through current donors, volunteers, and board members
  • SEO, which allows potential donors to find you through common search terms
  • Social media and e-newsletters
  • Local universities who have students that need clients for their projects or internships

Be sure to listen to the Nonprofit Jenni Show episode on in-kind donations for more advice, including tactics to approach potential donating businesses and brainstorming other in-kind donation needs! You can download the Nonprofit Jenni Show for free on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher.