For Churches, In-Kind Donations are a great thing. Having various goods and services donated to your ministry can be a huge blessing.
There are some types of donations that end up being more trouble than they’re worth. In some cases, they can end up costing the church money or becoming a safety hazard.
We’ll show you the three types of In-Kind donations that your church should avoid, and give you a few good examples of each.
One of the most common donations my church received were used items from either a home or a business. Sometimes, they could be refurbished with a little bit of elbow grease. Most times, they could not.
I remember one member donating their old living room couch to be used in the church office. Between the coffee stains and lack of cushioning, it was just bad. We're all about keeping things out of the landfill if they still have some life to them. This couch was not one of those things.
On another occasion, a church member had upgraded to a new riding lawnmower and decided to donate their old one. It worked great for a week. But that was it. After multiple trips going back and forth to the shop, we gave it away. What the church spent in repair bills could have been put towards a new riding lawn mower that would actually work.
In a nutshell: Worn-out donations are just that... worn out. Often times they just look bad, waste money, or take up our time.
Churches don’t need the latest and greatest things to do ministry well. However, there are things that just don’t make sense anymore for churches to use. Things like...
It may be tempting to accept that old upright piano from a church member. But, it will need to be constantly re-tuned and it has no instrument plug-in. For the price of a couple of professional tunings, you could have just purchased a decent electric keyboard that’s mobile, lightweight, and keeps perfect tune!
Outdated donations may save money, but their limitations often cause ministries to have to spend double the time and energy to make them work right. More often than not, outdated donations are just someone else’s trash that we end up throwing away.
Not all donations are tangible. In fact, services performed for free can be one of the best types of donations a church can receive. Whether it's fixing a leaky faucet or replacing a circuit breaker, services like these can save our ministries thousands of dollars! So when people offer their services, we should take them right?
When it comes to having services performed for your church, they need to be done by someone who is qualified with actual experience.
A botched plumbing job can turn into a bigger problem down the road. Shoddy electrical work can cause other issues to arise. Having a service performed by someone unqualified can result in the problem becoming greater, and costing even more to have fixed by a professional. In other situations, services performed improperly can pose a serious safety risk to the church!
When my church was installing a new lighting system, we came across multiple uncapped live wires within the walls from whoever installed the last system. This means that there were literal wires hanging within the walls that were exposed with electricity running through them. The installer told us bluntly:
Long story short: If the job requires a professional, use a professional. Services performed pro bono by unqualified people are not worth the risk to your church’s budget or safety. Leave the church workdays things like pulling weeds and painting fences.
In ministry, it's only natural for us to want to accept donations and help from well-meaning donors. In many cases, these church donations can help our ministries significantly. However, there is always a cost to free stuff. In some cases, that cost simply means we end up throwing an item away. In other cases, we end up footing the bill for someone else's junk or craftsmanship.
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