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    5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 16, 2008 10:40 AM by Lighthouse24

    Can businesses accept donations- continued

    donallover Newbie
      101408 8:35p ET

      Greetings all!

      I'm starting a business that provides internet services for Churches (nonprofits) for FREE in hpes that I can eventually sell them banner ads. Once they sign up for this FREE service can I then, on completion of registration for this FREE service, offer to send them a small gift for a donation on the thank you page?
      Or, would it be better simply to sell this item to them? I.e. is there a benefit to asking for a donation and calling it a gift or sell it to them and call it a product? Either way they won't pay any type of taxes on their end. I am not a non-profit nor do I particularly care to jump thru all the hoops! Is that even necessary?

      Huge thanx!
      don
        • Re: Can businesses accept donations- continued
          Lighthouse24 Ranger
          My thought is that if you want to give them a gift, give them a gift. If you want to offer them something for sale, offer them something for sale. I can't think of any benefit that would come from calling it something other than what it is (but there could definitely be negative consequences associated with doing what you describe).

          Hope that helps. Best wishes.
            • Re: Can businesses accept donations- continued
              donallover Newbie
              Thanx lighthouse24 for your thoughts...

              I guess my thinking was a bit like public tv and radio. "Donate" $200 and receive a DVD of the concert you just saw or CD for $100, etc"

              I sent CPTV $250 for tickets to a concert next weekend. I was glad to do it because I wanted to attend the concert but I wasn't foolish enough to think the tickets were really worth $250. In fact, they make it pretty clear that you're NOT buying tickets...that they are a "gift" in exchange for a donation.

              Our thought was that their donation for a small gift would give us some revenue to begin the business as we intend. We are happy to play by the rules, we just want to have a reasonable idea of what the rules are.

              all thoughts welcome...thanx!
              don
                • Re: Can businesses accept donations- continued
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger
                  The differences, as I see them, are that (a) public television is a non-profit and you're a business, (b) your $250 donation to public television was to support the programming you receive throughout the year, not to buy the DVD, (c) the station didn't send you a "gift" first and then ask you to pay for it (which is what you described) -- in the case of public television, the DVD was offered as an incentive up front, and (d) you're the direct beneficiary of the services being provided.

                  If you want to offer your customers a free service and tie in an up front incentive that would allow you to keep providing that service, that would be better than what you described initially -- but it seems that, like public television, it would be more effective to make that offer to the beneficiaries directly. As I understand it it, your business provides the technology, free of charge, to make church services available over the net -- so it seems that any up front incentive would be more effective if it were offered to the viewers of the services, not the churches.
                    • Re: Can businesses accept donations- continued
                      donallover Newbie
                      again, thanx Lighthouse 24 for your insights.

                      You brought up some tactical issues that I hadn't clarified.

                      The intent, which I guess I didn't make clear is that when a Church "enrolls" in our service via the Registration Form they automatically taken to a Thank You page and given the opportunity on this page to make a donation for a "starter pak".

                      I think at this point to avoid confusion (legal and otherwise) we will carry thru with the procedure above but instead of asking for a donation, simply offer the Starter Pak for sale.

                      thanx again,

                      Your response has helped us clarify a potentially sticky area.

                      don