For many organisations Gifts-in-Kind (GIK) are a bit of a grey area. Common questions include:
– Should we be recording them?
– Should we assign a value to them?
– Should we try to solicit more?
It could be that for your office the answer to all of the above is simply: “No”. However, I would like you to take a few moments to put yourself in the shoes of a GIK donor. Imagine how you would feel if you had regularly supplied your local animal shelter with pet food and bedding for years, only to find that your record shows you to be of less value than a person who gave $5 to a Christmas appeal 10 years ago?
Without a giving history these donors are just names on a list. You have no segmentation or reporting power, and no real way of knowing how to engage or solicit them further – they won’t even be flagged as a donor in your system! Can you imagine how your cash-donors would feel if they were treated in this way?
I understand that a GIK is not as clear cut as a $50 cheque, but there’s nothing to stop you from creating an internal value matrix (a very rough/broad one will do) so that you have an idea of the value of these donors. Even if you decide not to assign a value to these gifts, it is still important to make a note of what they were, who gave them and when. Then, at least, you’re not totally in the dark about them.
As for whether you should solicit more, why shouldn’t you? A gift is still a gift, and you never know what could happen in the future. GIK can alleviate some of your organisations financial outgoings whilst giving people a real sense of accomplishment and generosity. An example I saw of this recently was with the “Jolly Trolley” at a local Hospice where people donated in-kind to the free bar service which was available to all patients. The Jolly Trolley would be expensive to run and maintain without the support and philanthropy of these GIK donors. As it is, the service is set to continue for many, many years to come.
Every gift is worthy of your time and attention, regardless of the form it takes. These donors are engaged with and committed to your organisation. Don’t let them slip away just because you can’t take their gift to the bank!