The teams visit each non-profit organization, interview management, review policies and procedures, and inform the corporate foundation whether and where to continue support. This level of care and expertise is much higher than most individual donors, foundations or even government agencies can muster. As a rule, tax-exempt organizations are obliged to issue a confirmation of receipt to the donor (without specifying the value of the donation in kind) so that the donor can claim the tax deduction.

Collective actions are often more effective than individual efforts to address context and increase value creation, and help mitigate the problem of free travel by spreading costs widely. This may be due to a general reluctance to cooperate with competitors, but clusters include many related partners and industries that do not compete directly with each other. Focusing on the social change that needs to be achieved, inkind donation and not on the public that needs to be achieved, will expand the potential of partnerships and collective action. This does not mean that companies cannot gain goodwill and improve their reputation through philanthropy. The litmus test of good corporate philanthropy is whether the desired social change is so beneficial to the company that the organization would pursue the change even if no one knew about it.

Another example is America Online, which has unique features for managing Internet access and content. Working closely with educators, AOL developed a free, easy-to-use, non-commercial website tailored by grade level for students, administrators and teachers. This service improves the teaching experience for hundreds of thousands of students across the country by giving them access to enrichment and reference tools, while providing lesson plans and reference materials for teachers. Through this program, AOL was able to use its expertise, not just its donations, to improve high school performance faster and more cost-effectively than most other organizations.

The IRS does not require a nonprofit organization to provide written acknowledgment of receipt for a donation that is not tax deductible. If an organization receives a non-deductible item, it should not provide a receipt from the donor, which can be mistakenly used to apply for a tax deduction, but the organization can still thank the donor for the donation. For example, some organizations change their normal thank you letter to indicate that the item is not tax deductible, but that they appreciate the gift. General deductions for donations to donor-advised funds are usually limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income. The upper limit increases to 60% of the AGI for monetary donations, while the upper limit for the donation of non-monetary assets held for more than one year is 30% of the AGI. The IRS allows an extension of five tax years if your charitable deduction exceeds the AGI limits in a given tax year.

In a corporate context, this usually means that there is a connection between the charitable contribution and the business of the company, however vague or weak it may be. Often this connection is only semantic, which allows the company to streamline its posts in public reports and press releases. In fact, most corporate fundraising programs have nothing to do with a company’s strategy. Their main goal is to generate goodwill and positive publicity, as well as to raise the morale of employees. Online donation platforms and crowdfunding websites often charge fees for processing donations, possibly 3 percent or more, which reduces the impact of your donation.

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