If you or your organization has a worthwhile need for items you
can't afford to purchase, there are often ways to obtain those
items for free. By setting up a non-profit organization, you can
accept donations of equipment from businesses and individuals who
want to help the community while obtaining tax write-offs for
The structure of non-profit organizations is narrowly defined
according by the Internal revenue Service, and the qualifying
groups usually divide up into educational, religious, artistic or
social service organizations. A non-profit organization exhibits
certain characteristics. It is incorporated and set up to achieve
public goals. It is exempt from federal taxes under IRS code
section 501 (c) (3), and gifts made to organization can be
deducted by the donor. It is also at least partially exempt from
state, county and city taxes.
Non-profit organizations are not set up for financial gain of
individuals or for profit companies. A non-profit organization's
purpose focuses on public service rather than profit.. Non-profit
organizations provide services beyond those supplied by agencies
of the Unites States government, and they occupy a spot somewhere
between the private and public sectors.
To set up a non-profit organization, you should write for the
Internal Revenue Service guide called "How To Apply For And
Retain Tax-Exempt Status For Your Organization, Internal Revenue
Service Publication 557. In addition you will want Form 1023 and
the instructions for organizations that can qualify under section
501 (c) (3) of the IRS code, and Form 1024, which covers other
State and local laws and ordinances may affect your guess for
non-profit status. Unless you have previously been through the
IRS application process for non-profit status, you will probably
require the services of an attorney. If you qualify for
non-profit status, you may be able to get the attorney's services
In contacting a company, write a single-page cover letter stating
briefly how your goals parallel those of the potential donor.
Highlight the main points of your project. The cover letter
should succinctly tell who will benefit from the project.
Submit your proposal to local companies with the signature of
your organization director. The cover letter should show enough
spirit to interest the reader.
A vital part of the donation process is apprising the donor
institution of the nature of your organization and its management
staff. Give the company a look at your recent efforts and
Many companies are more than happy to respond with contributions
of a wide range of items to deserving local organizations - and
the contributions can save you a large amount of money!