Noncash Gifts: Surprising Stories of Generosity

Churches in America today may not be aware that they’re in stiff competition with nonprofits and other ministries for donations from their members. Most of this competition is over cash and credit card donations, which are just the tip of the iceberg of potential donations. 

Missed Opportunities

The fact is, almost 90% of people’s wealth lies in their noncash assets – their “stuff.” Over $43.6 billion in noncash gifts are given to nonprofit organizations every year.1 Churches that accept noncash gifts typically multiply their average online gift by 2.5 times. 

The challenge:

  • Most churches and nonprofits aren’t prepared to handle noncash gifts. They wouldn’t have the first idea what to do with a designer purse, old coins, or stocks and bonds that are donated. 
  • Most people won’t think to donate noncash items to their church unless they are made aware that their church accepts and can process such donations. 

The Solution:

Hardworking church staff doesn’t have to get involved at all in storing, shipping, liquidating, or receipting for donated items. Items are donated through your Generosity by Lifeway giving form (NOT dropped off at your facility!) and our liquidation partner, iDonate Charitable Foundation, handles all the details.

With a deal like that, churches must let people know it’s possible to give noncash items, let them know which ones can be accepted, and which ones can’t, and give them the opportunity to be blessed.

Blessed to Give 

One example of how donors are blessed to be able to give above their means came in the form of a small diamond and ruby ring: “This ring has meant so much to me and I want Samaritan’s Purse to have it for disasters,” the giver said. “To be able to send it for people in need means so much.”

Though some gifts may be small, they can add up: Gideons International was able to distribute 175,000 bibles strictly from noncash gifts.

Here are just a few more stories of incredible noncash gifts that iDonate Charitable Foundation has processed:

ART: A young woman donated her fiancé’s collection of 140 original, dual-sided, full-color movie poster prints after his untimely, fatal heart attack, generating $1,500 for heart disease research and prevention. Chahuli and Lucero glass sculptures from another giver brought in $8500 in proceeds.

SILVER: A couple married for 63 years couldn’t give their wedding silver away to their kids but were moved to donate it to Prison Fellowship Ministries when the ministry began accepting high-value donations. 

JEWELRY & WATCHES: 33 Troll beads netted $637, one Rolex watch brought in $5,800 in proceeds (received by the giver as a gift from his company) and another netted almost $9,000.

DOLLS: A brother and sister inherited a collection of Madame Alexander dolls from their mother, which brought in nearly $900 in proceeds. Another woman donated several Franklin Mint dolls that sold for over $100 each, saying “I’m emptying my house of things my kids don’t want and saving them the time and trouble of moving things on. My mission in life is to select places that are serving the Lord.”

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: A couple with a child suffering from Muscular Dystrophy had to purchase new special wheelchairs and strollers as the child grew. While they wanted the outgrown set to go to a family who needed but couldn’t afford them, the charitable organization’s noncash program didn’t work that way. The items were sold, but in a twist that shows how God works, the buyer turned out to be a man planning to take them to Guatemala for a needy family. 

VEHICLES: A couple burdened by the Syrian refugee crisis prayed about how they could help. Shortly after, the wife remembered an envelope stuffer in a Samaritan’s Purse communique announcing the nonprofit’s ability to take noncash gifts. The couple donated a fully-loaded Hummer (an unusual purchase for them). She said, “Time is short. None of this stuff matters. My greatest regret is that I didn’t know about this service earlier when the car would have brought more money.”

Other vehicles that have blessed mission-minded organizations:

  • A Gulfstream RV sold for $8,500.
  • A Wellcraft boat netted $55,000 in proceeds
  • An A1 Diesel Pusher sold for almost $100,000
  • Farm machinery

STOCK: A donation of stock was liquidated for $14,000, making a big impact for a church and also freeing the donor from paying capital gains tax. (With minimal expense to liquidating stock, it generally provides a higher yield for the church or nonprofit than other items.)

GRAIN: A farmer gave $850,000 in corn over a 5-year period.

PURSES: A collection of Brighton purses sold for almost $1,000 and Luis Vuitton purses have sold for $500 to $1,000 each.

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • A pair of Ray Ban sunglasses was donated to help refugee families
  • Dairy cows netting over $30,000
  • 2 saddles brought in almost $1,000
  • A Civil War sword sold for over $2300
  • A Fortune 500 company’s fulfillment vendor donated autographed Cowboys merchandise that netted $19,650 for Samaritan’s Purse
  • A man retiring from business donated a food trailer 
  • A never-assembled Morton metal building was donated to save the effort of having to have it hauled away
  • Discontinued sporting goods inventory

Noncash Giving: Bless Your Givers

The ability to accept noncash gift without overburdening your staff is a gift that keeps on giving…both to givers unable to give cash and to your organization’s mission. Find out how to get started.

1Source: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/14insprbulnoncash.pdf