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The benefits of having an in-kind gift policy

Posted June 16, 2021 by Virginia Davidson


in-kind gift policy benefits

In-kind gifts of goods bring in much-needed supplies for your organization and free up funds for other expenses. They also help you build relationships with individual and corporate donors who might not make a financial contribution to your organization.

Those are the positive aspects of in-kind gifts. But there are negative aspects to accepting in-kind gifts, too. Donated items have the potential to be a nuisance to your organization if you can’t use them. You might wind up spending money to store or dispose of them. You might spend valuable time figuring out what to do with them.

That’s why an in-kind gift policy is so valuable. Even if in-kind gifts are a rarity at your organization, it’s worthwhile to establish a policy around accepting in-kind gifts of goods. You may find that thinking through your policy helps you identify items that would really benefit your organization and are worth seeking out.

As you get started, consider the following:

  • What in-kind items would be useful to your organization?
  • In order for your organization to accept items, what condition do they need to be in?
  • Are there specific items that you don’t want to accept?
  • Are there certain items that you’ll accept on a seasonal basis only?
  • How will you accept in-kind gifts? Do donors need to make an appointment, or can they drop items off without notice?
  • Who will have the authority to accept items on behalf of the organization? Are they prepared to explain why an item might not further the mission?

Creating your in-kind gift policy

Write it down!

Document your answers to the questions above to create an in-kind gift policy. You can make it a detailed component of your broader gift acceptance. If you don’t have a gift acceptance policy yet, that’s okay! This resource will help you get started.

Share your in-kind gift policy internally and externally

Make sure your colleagues have access to your in-kind gift policy. Consider making it available on your website, too. That way, it will be easy to refer to when needed—whether the donor checks it out to see if their prospective gift is eligible to be donated, or in case you need to rely on it to politely decline an in-kind gift. A written policy can help your organization avoid a difficult situation if a donor wants to make an in-kind gift that is not in the best interest of your organization. It makes the situation less personal and potentially disappointing to the would-be donor, because you can rely on the policy to support your decision.

Review and update your policy regularly

It’s a good idea to review and update this policy on a regular basis. Have your development committee review it annually to see if there are new items you’re seeking or if you need to cease accepting particular items.


Your in-kind gift policy ensures that your organization is bolstered by in-kind gifts rather than burdened by them. And, remember to thank your in-kind donors with an appropriate acknowledgment. If you’re looking for an example of how to acknowledge in-kind gifts of goods, check out our guide.


Do you need a system to help you better keep track of the donations your nonprofit receives and helps you manage the acknowledgment process? Learn how Little Green Light can help by joining one of our free weekly demos!

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