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Free Supplies for Your Church & School?

How Churches & Schools Are Stretching their Budgets through Gifts-in-Kind Organizations

Contact: Joanne Levine, National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR), 847-327-9530

GALESBURG, Ill., Sept. 6, 2017 /Standard Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Gary C. Smith -

    It's a given: with budgets tighter than ever, churches and schools need to be creative in doing more with less. Yet many dismiss one very real resource because they're convinced there must be "a catch." But it's not too good to be true.

    That resource: gifts-in-kind organizations. These organizations collect donations of new merchandise from U.S. corporations and redistribute it to its not-for-profit members, including churches and schools, for free.

    Free materials. Office and art supplies. Janitorial supplies. Sporting goods. Plus, tools, toys, software, books and media, personal care items, party goods, and more.

    Churches can browse catalogs of donated supplies and request what they need, saving on supplies and limiting churches and their teachers' out-of-pocket costs.

    What's the catch? There isn't one. Typically, members pay a modest annual membership fee, plus nominal shipping and handling costs. That's it. It ends up costing churches a fraction of what it would to purchase the same supplies through conventional channels.

    Who's doing the donating, and what's in it for them? Large U.S. companies are the donors. One benefit is that they're supporting meaningful charitable causes. At the same time, they're taking advantage of tax deductions, reducing storage costs, clearing warehouse space, and avoiding hassles with liquidators. And instead of clogging landfills, they're putting unused goods to use.

    The rules are simple. Participating organizations must agree to act in accordance with IRC section 170(e)(3), which states that merchandise must be used for the care of the ill, needy or minors. It cannot be bartered, traded or sold. The merchandise can be given directly to qualifying individuals served by an organization or used in the administration of the organization.

    Savvy churches and schools nationwide are taking advantage of this service to stretch their budgets.

    In these days of slashed funding and shrinking budgets, the question isn't if gifts-in-kind organizations are too good to be true. The question is: if your church hasn't explored this option yet, what are you waiting for?

Gary C. Smith is the president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR), the oldest, largest gifts-in-kind organization in the U.S., 1-800-562-0955