While it is possible to get a donated box truck for your business, there are certain terms that have a more encompassing meaning to the wider public but can mean something more specific in the business world. A very good example of this is “donation” and “gift.”
To a good number of people, the two might be or are considered the same thing, but when attributed to businesses and non-profits, they have very different connotations. When looking to start a box truck business, it is necessary you understand these differences; otherwise, you run the risk of falling into serious legal complications.
In the United States, the IRS defines a gift as cash or property that is transferred from one person or organization to another. Have it in mind that this can range from a couple of transfers of funds to something more tangible, such as a truck.
A donation can also mean the same thing: money or legal goods that are transferred from one party to another. Note that a donation differs from a gift in the sense that it is transferred to a qualified charitable organization. The law notes that while donations are tax-deductible, gifts are not.
While any business can legally receive money or gifts from their customers, unless you’re a nonprofit organization, those contributions would count as “gifts” and not as “donations.” Note that to get tax-exempt donations; the organization will have to be recognized by the IRS as a business operating for tax-exempt purposes. This will also require a company to file a formal application to acquire this status.
This does not mean that a company cannot make money; instead, it is not allowed to distribute this money to its members or other businesses. All the profit is expected to be reinvested back into the non-profit company itself. So, if your organization doesn’t meet these requirements, then it cannot receive donations.
Despite the important tax distinctions between offering a donation to a non-profit and offering a gift to a business, there is still nothing restricting for-profit businesses from receiving or even asking for gifts. Howbeit, it is pertinent to clarify to gift-givers that they will not be able to write off their gift. Not clarifying this could lead to legal trouble later on.
Steps to Get a Donated Box Truck for your Business
Getting box truck donations for your business can be tricky especially if you don’t already have existing partnerships. However, if you are looking to go down this route, here are steps to guide you through.
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Determine Who You Should Ask
Note that the first step will be to determine companies you can realistically ask for truck donations from. Have it in mind that a perfect place to start is businesses or individuals in your local community.
Depending on the area where your business is located, note that some local businesses may not have the capacity or incentive to give to your business. You should look into sourcing grants offered by larger, national corporations as well. But regardless of how you intend to go about it, it is imperative you start the relationship right.
Find a Point of Contact
If you are looking to get a donated box truck to start your business from companies, then have it in mind that you can’t just walk up to anyone who works there and start asking for donations, and expect to walk away with that box truck. Regardless of how you see it, it is necessary you first form relationships with leading members within the company you’re asking for donations from.
Take your time to determine who your point of contact is and ensure you establish a concrete relationship with that person. Note that your in-person meetings will be much easier if you already have a good partnership with whoever is making the decision.
Consider What You Can Offer in Return
You have to understand that partnerships are expected to go two ways. Notably, if you request donations–monetary or even a box truck – you have to show the business that they’ll get something tangible in return. While this will often depend on your existing relationship with the company, the size of their donation, and your available resources, this could take numerous forms, like;
- Logos and names on the truck
- References in your marketing strategies
- Information in your annual report
- Tax benefits
- Positive press
- And more!
Right before you start seeking donations from companies; take your time to ensure that you have something you can offer them in return.
Make Your Request
Requesting donations from corporations or even individuals can be quite challenging. Note that no matter how extensively you’ve prepared, it can be domineering to sit down with someone to ask to get a donated box truck for your business. However, there are a few ways you can go about requesting this sort of donation:
- Write a letter. Note that this method adds a little sense of formality to the request. However, it is imperative you limit this letter to one page, and ensure that someone notable from your business signs it (preferably the owner or other managers).
- Request in person. Most often, this method is suitable for businesses seeking donations to start or further expand their offerings. Truth be told, asking in person can be tricky, especially if the person you’re looking to meet with already has a busy schedule. However, note that meeting face-to-face can also ensure you perfectly state your appeal and answer any necessary questions.
However, regardless of how you intend to go about it, always ensure you are genuine and clear. Your appeal should be properly detailed, and your request should be appropriate for your situation and the company’s capacity.
Most often, a company won’t even consider your request or make the donation after the first letter or meeting. Owing to that, following up with your point of contact a few weeks afterward is very necessary. However, note that your follow-up is not expected to be as formal as your initial meeting. You could:
- Make a phone call across
- Send an email.
- Have an informal in-person meeting.
- Send a check-up letter.
When following up, it is pertinent to restate the positive points from your earlier meetings. Take time to emphasize how the company will benefit from the donation and what you can give in return. Following up surely has its own limitations as you don’t want to annoy your point of contact and potentially infuriate them.
So ensure to take a slow and steady approach, checking up every couple of weeks or so. If they lastly decide that they don’t want to donate, offer them other ways to partner with your business.
When seeking box truck donations for your business, ensure you do not run afoul of your state’s laws by seeking donations from the public without registering with the state attorney general.
Unless you are recognized by the IRS, sourcing charity from the public would more or less be viewed as breaking the law, therefore make sure that all parties understand where you stand. In addition, even if you term it a “donation,” a company’s financial gift will not qualify for the same tax exemptions that a non-profit would get.