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Welcome to the e-learning lesson on planning for, securing and documenting in-kind donations. At the end of this lesson, you will be able to identify prospective donors, utilize effective strategies for developing donors, apply techniques to effectively ask for donations, and correctly document and report in-kind donations. The process of securing in-kind donations is built on four important steps: identifying donors, asking for the donation, accurate reporting and thanking people for giving. This lesson will explore these steps, and will also provide useful tips to enhance your comfort-level going through the process.

In-kind donations are given in goods or services rather than money.

Donations of goods and services can be extremely valuable to nonprofit organizations. For some organizations it is central to the mission of the organization to secure and use donated items and services, and the organization’s positive impact depends on those donated services. Although these are often the most welcome kind of donations, organizations should properly advertise their needs, target the most likely donors, and document all items properly to ensure they receive the items they need the most.

Some examples of in-kind donations include:


  • Books
  • Office equipment
  • Office furniture
  • Food/refreshments
  • Games or toys
  • Clothes
  • Car/van


  • Bookkeeping
  • Copying/printing
  • Meeting/office space
  • Professional services
    (accounting, lawyer, etc.)
  • Mentoring/tutoring
  • Editing/publishing support
  • Event planning


  • Classroom
  • Office
  • Storage
  • Advertising space

There are a number of benefits for giving in-kind donations for donors.

Many donors are drawn to giving in-kind donations rather than money. Some people might be looking to increase their personal storage space, avoid disposal costs, or receive a tax deduction. Others are interested in reducing waste by finding a new home for the items they no longer use. Finally, many are interested in giving their time doing things such as mentoring, bookkeeping, or helping to organize other in-kind donations.

Many people are interested in ensuring that specific items reach members in their own community versus sending money to a national organization. Some organizations are interested in providing in-kind donations for the positive public relations. Whatever the reason, knowing your audience can help you determine how to ask for donations, specify what you need and do not need, and politely decline offers.