The short answer is maybe.
Many’s the company that have been asked by a charity to provide in-kind support of some kind; airline tickets, hotel stays, restaurant vouchers, etc. Stuff that can be auctioned or offered as a premium to donors.
But causes have other needs that they typically have to pay for; audio-visual equipment, mailhouse or database services, website design, employee benefits administration, delivery vans, and more. Any expense a charity doesn’t incur is money that can be put toward the mission.
And so, while a charity’s first preference is a cash donation, they’re almost always willing to talk about in-kind donations as well.
Long Fence, a large residential and commercial fencing contractor on the East Coast of the United States, is a Diamond Sponsor of the Komen Maryland Race for the Cure, which took place yesterday. It provided fencing to separate participants and spectators during the race held in Hunt Valley, Maryland, a northern suburb of Baltimore.
Long Fence, puts up and then takes down the fencing required for the event. The Komen race is the largest such event in Maryland with more than 33,000 racers in 2011.
Now, Long Fence’s in-kind sponsorship is almost certainly recognized on Komen of Maryland’s website and certain print collateral, maybe in social media as well.
But that’s not how I learned about it. Instead, Long Fence put out a press release touting its Diamond level sponsorship of Komen of Maryland.
For some companies that provide in-kind donations to charities, a press release of this type would be gauche. They’ll accept the letters of thanks for their in-kind donations and other recognition in materials, and websites, but to publicize it themselves would seem wrong.
That’s a decision they have come to internally based on their beliefs and culture.
But given its culture, Long Fence’s tactically executed its in-kind donation to a pink ribbon charity perfectly.