Providing In-Kind Support

Providing in-kind support can be a particularly useful model for small-to-medium enterprises because it does not call for direct financial donations but rather relies on the giving of gifts "in-kind", or in place of, monetary donations and funding. It plays to the strengths of a business and what it can most conveniently do to help.

Donating "used or surplus goods" is only one of an almost endless list of options for in-kind support through the giving of goods, services or resources.

It allows a business to help more often because there are more chances to donate excess or surplus goods than excess or surplus cash.

Many firms already engage in providing in-kind support, perhaps on an ad-hoc basis, donating goods to community raffles, for example.

It is easy to see and measure the impact of an in-kind donation on the community, and generate good publicity for the business.

To establish an in-kind partnership:

  • Identify what goods - if any - you can give away (this could include stationary, furniture, filing cabinets, shelving, computers, fax machines, software, printers, photocopiers, telephones, books, appliances, food or drink, building supplies or anything that a community group might be able to auction) and whether you can do so on a one-off or ongoing basis

  • Consider whether any of your own suppliers would be willing to contribute or offer you cost reductions

  • Identify any other resources you might be able to donate (such as storage space, meeting space, equipment or advertising space). See the skilled volunteering and pro bono help sheets for information about providing services in-kind.

  • Consider whether there is a type of community group that is likely to particularly benefit from those goods

  • Ask staff or other community contacts whether they can suggest any groups that might need them

Examples of in-kind partnerships:
  • A nursery offering excess trees, plants or garden tools to a Landcare or environmental group working bee.

  • An electrician fixing the wiring at a community group's office.

  • A hairdresser offering free or discounted haircuts to residents at a local senior citizens home.

  • An office which has newly upgraded its computer network donating machines or components to a number of local groups, schools or other institutions.

  • A newsagency offering stationery for a community group to print invitations on. Printing or photocopying could also be donated.

  • A website design company offering to auction its services to the highest bidder in a community group auction.

  • A self-storage firm providing storage space to a historical group for its documents and records.

  • A grocer providing sports drinks to the local junior football club for players to drink at half-time.