Kids are going back to school. Here's how business can support them
School districts are planning for a full-time return to the classroom in fall 2021. It's an important step forward in our post-pandemic world, one that will benefit our children while at the same time allowing parents to resume jobs and careers.
Back-to-school shopping lists will no doubt include many products made in our area.
But things will be different.
Many families are still struggling with the economic fallout of the pandemic. They've lost jobs and insurance and sometimes a place to call home. Meanwhile, we already know that teachers, even in good years, dig into their own pockets to supply their students with what they need. I expect that more teachers will be doing this to help their struggling students during the coming year.
Let's give them a hand, shall we?
Do you have paper products, crayons, pencils, technology (tablets, flash drives) and other things kids need for school sitting in inventory? I know inventories are a moving target thanks to problems with the supply chain this spring, but a new school year is coming and you might want to make room on your shelves for new products.
Consider an in-kind donation of products you no longer want or need. You will be helping your bottom line as well as schools around the country while protecting your brand.
Here's how it works.
How to give in-kind
Most nonprofits welcome in-kind donations. But it can be complicated. A well-run nonprofit will have a gift acceptance policy that specifies what sorts of items it will accept, what the intended use of those items is and how they will be valued.
Then, of course, you have to identify the nonprofits you believe will benefit from your unwanted or excess inventory. Where are they located? How will you deliver it? Can you direct your donations to education? The logistics can be daunting, and you don't want to spend a lot of your company's resources on them.
Instead, consider giving your items to a gifts-in-kind organization. These are 501(c) (3) nonprofits that collect donated products and then distribute them to qualified nonprofits like schools, churches park districts and government agencies, usually for a small handling fee.
NAEIR.org offers teachers free registration and will send requested supplies to them only for a nominal shipping and handling charge. The merchandise is free.
Be sure that the gifts-in-kind organization you choose is a registered 501(c) (3) with a clean Better Business Bureau record and Form 990 filings as required by the IRS.
A gifts-in-kind organization can make it easy for you. You should expect that it will accept 100% your overstocks, whether it's a truckload or a few cartons, at any time of the year.
Giving in-kind a win-win
Your in-kind donations not only benefit teachers, students and schools; they also can help your bottom line, not to mention your company's reputation. Giving in-kind can generate positive PR.
Section 170(e) (3) if the Internal Revenue Code states that when C-corps donate their inventory to qualified nonprofits, they don't just receive a tax deduction. They can receive a tax deduction equal to up to twice the cost of the donated products.
Under the tax code, deductions are equal to the cost of the inventory donated, plus half the difference between the cost and fair market-selling price, not to exceed twice the cost.
For example, if your product costs $10 and you sell it in store for $30, the difference is $20. Half of $20 is $10. So, $10 (product cost) plus $10 (half the difference) equals a $20 deduction. As $20 does not exceed twice the product cost, it is an allowable deduction. It's that simple.
Join the gifts-in-kind movement this fall and see all the good you can do.
• Gary C. Smith is President and CEO of NAEIR, National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources, the largest gifts-in-kind organization in the United States. Galesburg, Ill.-based NAEIR (www.naeir.org) has received donations of excess inventory from more than 8,000 U.S. corporations and redistributed more than $3 billion in products to nonprofits and schools. Smith can be reached at (800) 562-0955.