We have all received those calls…someone planning a fundraiser for a non-profit organization requesting a donation of entertainment services for their event. Before hanging up the phone, there ARE several ways to actually book the event, get compensated AND gain some business!
So when such an inquiry comes in, you should research to see what organization the proceeds are benefitting. Are they legitimate? Or is this a fundraiser to help someone who has experienced a devastating life event. There’s nothing wrong with helping your fellow man, but if it’s a non-profit organization, the Internal Revenue Service has clear guidelines regarding tax deductible contributions. Unfortunately, because our services consist of our time, such donating our services for their event is NOT a tax deductible contribution. For more information, or an explaination, check out IRS Publication 526 (“Charitable Contributions”. Understanding charitable contributions and the IRS rules around them, plus a little education with your prospective non profit clientele can help you benefit WITHOUT having to donate your services. And the benefits go beyond financial compensation.
The first way to benefit by working with non-profit organizations is by getting the tax deductible donation the RIGHT way. When booking with a non-profit organization and educating them (in my experience, the majority of the people who book events for non-profit organizations believe that your donated services can be a tax deduction), offer to make a donation in the amount of your services IN EXCHANGE for being compensated for your services. In this case, there is no immediate financial benefit, but your donation is considered to be tax deductible.
You may also consider doing a discounted rate for non-profit events. This could be a discounted fee direct to the non-profit organization, or you may use the above technique by being compensated your total fee, and providing a partial donation back to the organization. In the end, the profit will allow you to cover expenses such as fuel, travel or any unexpected expenses that may come up from doing the event. In either case, remember that the dollar amount of the donation written to the non-profit is the amount that would be tax deductible.
In addition to the above, there are several different ways to maximize future business from performing these events. One way is to offer to help raise funds by offering your services. Have the organization promote you to their affiliates, guests of the event or staff, and offer to make a donation to the charity for every event that is booked as a result of your performance. (ie. For every event booked by a guest, staff, or affiliate of the charity, you will make a $25 donation to the charity.) This is a great way to give back, even after the event is over.
Using some of the above information when you receive your next call asking about services for a fundraiser or non-profit event is just another smart way to “profit from a non-profit event.”