Charitable Donations: Packaging and Accounting
If you are an active handmade artist you will eventually be asked to make a charitable donation in the form of your art. Has this already happened? Do you have a plan for when it does? Maybe my experience will help you make better choices for the charity and yourself.
I am a planner, I believe we need to run a business as a business, so I have a list of charity’s that I am love to give to and I plan ahead for the gifting. My list of worthy causes are private, so I prefer not to share that.
I start by looking at jewelry or art work that I have had for at least a year that hasn’t sold. First I make sure it is very good quality, I never give my least, if it isn’t good I wouldn’t list or show anyway. I pull anything I feel needs to go to a new home to make room for fresh work. After I have had it for a year or so I have no problem letting it go, I remove it from inventory add it to “the box” tag it with all important info and leave it until the time comes for the auction, special sale, gift basket whatever form the charity takes.
I have a document saved on my computer for donation items, When a piece goes in the box, it also goes in the file along with the title, date and value, later when I actually deliver the donation I add the name of the charity & contact information for my tax records.
It is very important to keep good records, it has been in inventory, or you used stock supplies to make it so you must have a record of where it went and why. Now it becomes a taxable deduction as well as helping a person in need:)
I would like to point out as well as helping others it is a way to benefit your business, and in turn you will have more to donate in the future.
I came up with an easy way to display the item for a charity auction, a silent auction or bazaar. I tried several ways to do this and I like this best, the description stays with the item , I also use large print so it is easy to read:)
I use heavy card stock in a neutral color. I list who I am, where I sell, what the item is and all the type of findings, media and materials used in the design as well as the retail value of the item. I feel the value is a gentle nudge to make a generous bid since it is for a charity event. Presumably they are there to help by purchasing your donated item, not find a bargain. I include my selling venue information because they may wish to purchase other items from you in the future.
I simply use my hole punch to make a hole in the printed card stock. I run the cord or bracelet through from front to back, then very carefully staple around the cord, I use my flat nose pliers to close it well and tape on the back side to prevent the staple from damaging other items or scratching a person.
Here are some bracelets that I will be sending to an auction for charity my daughter is chairing. Bracelets are simple to do, run them through the hole and fasten! Nothing is lost and everyone knows what they are buying and who donated it. And the very least they should expect to pay.
Always ask for a receipt that makes it a legitimate tax deduction, or you can write out a receipt to the charity and ask the person you deliver to for a signature and be sure you date it.
And one last word of advice, know your limits, stick to your plan as close as possible. Once you start giving you will be asked a lot, and it is hard to say no to worthy causes, but use your own wisdom.
The way I handle this issue is by falling back on my plan. Since it is in place at the start of the new year,when someone asks for more than I am comfortable with, I simply say, I am sorry we have used our budget for that this year, and it was an executive decision to stick with our pre-planned budget. That gives you a gracious way to turn them down. You are in control and are free to make exceptions at anytime without the pressure.
Giving to help others is a beautiful thing, I hope you are successful enough to be willing to share the bounty with those less fortunate, God bless you!
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