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The Value of Donated Property Is in the Eye of the Marketplace

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Not-for-profit organizations often struggle with valuing non-cash and in-kind donations, including the value of houses and other real estate. Whether for recordkeeping purposes or when helping donors understand proper valuation for their charitable tax deductions, the task isn't easy.

The Appraisal Issue

Potential donors might be deterred because of the hassle involved in getting non-cash donations appraised. Yet appraisals generally aren't needed for items of property for which the donor will claim a deduction of $5,000 or less.

Donors who deduct more than $500 for any single item of clothing or any household item that isn't in "good used condition" or better, however, must include a qualified appraisal with their income tax returns. In these cases, the donor should understand that the IRS will weigh the appraisal based on the report's completeness and the appraiser's qualifications and demonstrated knowledge of the donated property. The agency requires appraisals to provide all facts applicable to giving an "intelligent judgment" of the property's value, such as purchase price and comparable sales.

The IRS and courts are requiring donors to follow the requirements for appraisals — even when the value of the property is certain.

Although the amount that a donor can deduct generally is based on the donation's fair market value (FMV), there's no single formula for calculating FMV for every type of gift. (Note: A donor can't claim a tax deduction for the contribution of services. Thus, this article focuses on valuing gifts of property for tax purposes rather than financial accounting purposes.)


FMV Basics


The IRS defines FMV as the price that property would sell for on the open market. For example, if a donor contributes used clothes, the FMV would be the price that typical buyers actually pay for clothes of the same age, condition, style and use.

If the property is subject to any type of restriction about its use, the FMV must reflect that restriction. Say a donor contributes land to your not-for-profit and restricts its use to agricultural purposes. The land must be valued for agricultural purposes, even though it would have a higher FMV for residential purposes if used to build homes.

Ultimately, FMV must consider all facts and circumstances connected with the property, such as its desirability, use and scarcity.


3 FMV Factors


According to the IRS, there are three particularly relevant factors in determining FMV:


1. Cost or selling price. The cost of the item to the donor or the actual selling price received by your organization may be the best indication of the item's FMV. Because market conditions can change, though, the cost or price becomes less important the further in time the purchase or sale is from the date of contribution.


For example, you may have paid $2,000 for a top-of-the-line computer in 2012. But that computer certainly isn't worth $2,000 anymore because it's no longer top of the line. It may still have some value, though.


A documented arm's-length offer to buy the property close to the contribution date may help prove its value to the IRS. The offer must have been made by an independent, unrelated party willing and able to complete the transaction.


2. Comparable sales. The sales price of a property similar to the donated property often is critical in determining FMV. The weight that the IRS gives to a comparable sale depends on:

  • The degree of similarity between the property sold and the donated property,
  • The time of the sale (whether it was close to the valuation date),
  • The circumstances of the sale (was it at arm's length?), and
  • The market conditions at the time of the sale.

The degree of similarity must be close enough that reasonably well-informed buyers or sellers of the donated property would have considered that selling price. The greater the number of similar sales for comparable selling prices, the stronger the evidence of the FMV.

It's important, though, that the transactions take place in an open market. If the sales were made in a market that was artificially supported or stimulated, they might not be representative or indicative of the FMV. For example, liquidation sale prices typically don't indicate FMV.


3. Replacement cost. FMV should consider the cost of buying, building or manufacturing property similar to the donated item after a reduction for the age and depreciation of the property being donated. But the replacement cost must have a reasonable relationship to the FMV. And if the supply of the donated property is more or less than the demand for it, the replacement cost becomes less important to FMV.


Gifts of Inventory


If a business contributes inventory, it can deduct the smaller of its FMV on the day of the contribution or the inventory's basis. (The basis of donated inventory is any cost incurred in an earlier year to purchase or create the inventory that the business would include in its opening inventory for the year of the contribution.) If the cost of donated inventory isn't included in the opening inventory, its basis is zero and the business can't claim a charitable deduction. Instead, the cost of the donated inventory will be included in current year cost of goods sold, showing zero as the corresponding sale.

Special rules apply to donations of food inventory to a qualified organization. The food you donate must be wholesome and intended for human consumption even if it may not be marketable at the time of the donation. A business may get a tax deduction that includes up to one-half of the profit margin it would have received if the food had been sold on the date of the donation. For assistance with the detailed calculations, check with your tax adviser.


An Important Reminder


Even if a donor can't take a tax deduction for a non-cash or in-kind donation (usually a piece of tangible property or property rights), you may need to record the donation on your financial statements. Recognize such donations (including the donation of services) at their fair value, or what it would cost if your not-for-profit were to buy the donation outright from an unrelated third party.


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Attending LANO’s Transformational Leadership Retreat April 4-5? This book summary can be a helpful resource.

Posted By Amy Warner, CausePlanet, Wednesday, March 22, 2017



Attending LANO’s Transformational Leadership Retreat April 4-5? This book summary can be a helpful resource, too.


How to focus on your leadership priorities, no matter how busy you are.


Empower your employees without adding hours to your plate. The nine principles found in this book summary will ignite the engagement, motivation, morale and trust among you team members and will result in greater efficiency and higher levels of productivity.


When it comes to motivating your staff members and bringing out their best, there is no magic bullet, because great leadership is more about the small things done consistently than some huge one-time initiative.


Nine Minutes is a manageable way for leaders to incrementally adopt each of author James Robbins’ recommended minutes and incorporate them slowly into their weekly schedules. Not many books promise the kind of change Robbins does with such a relatively small amount of time.

Click this link to learn more:



Questions? Email us at



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Nominate someone for the 2017 Angel Award!

Posted By Tasha L. Cooper, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Wednesday, March 22, 2017



We’re looking for eight everyday Louisianans who do extraordinary good for Louisiana’s children. If you know someone who has made a difference in the life of kids, nominate them for the 2017 Angel Award.


Each Angel Award honoree receives a $20,000 grant to the charity of his or her choice and ongoing assistance from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation


The deadline to nominate a potential Angel is April 14, 2017.



Nominate an Angel Online>>

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Join the Fundraising Intensive Program!

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Saturday, March 18, 2017
Applications are now open for the Fundraising Intensive Program's 2017-2018 class!

The Fundraising Intensive Program is an eight month course that helps your nonprofit develop practical skills and raise more money.

Click HERE to learn more and apply!!

Over the course of the program, participants meet monthly for group discussions on specific fundraising topics, receiving hands-on homework assignments designed to put new skills and ideas to work. Following the group session, each participating organization receives individual coaching that helps put those ideas into action.

Topics covered during the program include:
Creating a Fundraising Plan
Telling a Powerful Story
Individual Donor Development
Major Donors
Fundraising by Mail and Email
Fundraising Events: House Parties

The course is designed so that you will learn by doing, and actively raise funds while you complete the coursework. Past participants report a marked increase in the funds raised during the course of the program.

Want to learn more? Join us for a FREE information session on the program, April 26, 5:30pm - 6:30pm at Broadmoor Arts & Wellness center, 3900 General Taylor, New Orleans. REGISTER HERE for info session. ** Attendees will receive a special discount code for $100 off program tuition. **

If you would like to speak with someone about your organization's participation in the Fundraising Intensive Program, email or call (504) 307-7220.

Tags:  boards  development  donations  donor management  donor retention  donors  Finance Fundamentals  foundations  fund  fund development  fund raising  funding  fundraiser  Fundraising  funds  grant  grant writing  grantwriting  LANO Network  leadership  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  online fundraising  social fundraising  social media  training  workshop  workshop. grants 

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Special LANO Discount for Cause Camp

Posted By Terence Delaine Jr, Thursday, March 9, 2017

LANO and its membership has received a special discount for Cause Camp, The Definitive Nonprofit Conference.


Cause Camp is two full days of inspiration and education from some of the biggest names in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, causing you to truly change the way you view the sector and evolve the way an organization is run. This is no excuse to leave the office for a couple days, this is an all-inclusive experience. You'll leave with the tools to tackle any issue you may have, new perspectives and a deeper circle of those also looking to achieve new heights.


The Cause Camp flag is raised and proudly flown in Lincoln, Nebraska for two full-days, March 27-28. Can’t make it to the capital city in-person? They live-stream the two days in its entirety, so you can watch from the comfort of your home or office.


To register yourself or others with our special discount, click here.

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Posted By Dell Dempsey, Belle Chasse Educational Foundation, Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"FOOLS RUSH IN" is a Gala/Silent Auction that will benefit Belle Chasse Academy, a 501c3 louisiana Public Charter whose mission is to educate the sons and daughters of mambers of our Armed Forces assigned over five parishes in the Greater New Orleans area. Proceeds will go to supporting academic and critical after-school programs threatened by the recent cuts in the state educational budget. As Belle Chasse Academy receives no funding from the Department of Defense it depends on state funding for much of its budget.


The Gala is open to the public. Tickets are $25 including two drink tickets, and can be purchased on line at, or at the door. We encourage  anyone who supports the military presence in south east Louuisiana to attend "FOOLS RUSH IN" and enjoy an evening of good music, fine food, and beverages and view and bid on our fine selection of auction items. You can register for the auction and get more event information at, you can even view and bid on auction items on your phone once you register. 


Tags:  fundraiser  support the military child 

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Fundraising Workshop: Nonprofit Fundraising 101 - with special LANO member discount

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Tuesday, March 7, 2017

April Fundraising Workshop:

Nonprofit Fundraising 101


Thursday, April 13

1:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Ashe Cultural Arts Center

1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans


Details and registration


Every nonprofit needs to know the options for how it will raise money. This workshop will give you the essential background you need in order to understand how you'll keep your work well-funded.

Participants will learn:

  • Where nonprofits get their funding.

  • Why your nonprofit might choose to prioritize fundraising from grants, individual donors, events, and other sources.

  • What it means to make your funding sustainable.

  • The difference between restricted and unrestricted funding.

  • The Donor Cultivation Cycle- the framework for identifying and building relationships with your donors and funders.

This workshop is ideal for both for those new to the fundraising and nonprofit world and for those with some experience in fund development.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Participation for completing the workshop.

Registration $40. LANO members using the discount code LANO2017 receive 15% off! Discounts also available for students, AmeriCorps members, and organizations registering two or more people.

For questions or to reserve your seat and pay at the door, email For more on workshops and other services from The Funding Seed, visit

Tags:  board  board of directors  boards  development  discount  donations  donor management  donor retention  donors  events  Finance Fundamentals  fund development  fund raising  funding  funding sources  Fundraising  funds  grantwriting  LANO Network  member benefit  Member Event  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  nonprofits  non-profits  online fundraising  social fundraising  sustainability  training  workshop 

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Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

Posted By Terence Delaine Jr, Thursday, March 2, 2017

As many of you know, LANO is a proud member of the National Council of Nonprofits(NCN). We are therefore joining the National Council of Nonprofits, their nationwide network, and nonprofits and foundations from across the country, in signing onto a special Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. This letter is in response to a possible repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 tax provision that directly affects the actions of 501(c)(3) organizations. The proposed legislation would alter this longstanding federal law that protects charitable nonprofits and foundations – and the donating public – by allowing this type of political activity.


The sign-on letter campaign that NCN is about to launch in Nonprofit Advocacy Matters is designed to generate as many organizational signers as possible from all 50 states. They welcome organizational names from charitable nonprofits, foundations, and for-profits that support their community and oppose changes to the Johnson Amendment. All of you can help by sending out a special Action Alert to your email list, include the issue in your newsletter, and any other way you have to communicate with organizations in your state. Their ask is that you send folks to the website with the sign-on letter: This letter will be delivered to their U.S. Senators and Representatives to show them that charitable nonprofits, foundations, and their many supporters are united in opposition to efforts to politicize their community.

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Successful Grant Writing Course - NEW INFORMATION!! NEW DATES!!

Posted By David Kiviaho, kiisa Corporation, Friday, February 24, 2017


Successful Grant Writing Course - NEW INFORMATION! NEW DATES!!

March 27th and March 28th - $395


kiisa corporation and LSU present the newest addition of Successful Grant Writing. With new information about funding sources and how to reach those folks, kiisa has also added portions of Grant Management to this course!!


With over 25 years of grant writing experience, and millions of dollars raised, kiisa corporation understands the importance of a stellar narrative and building just the right relationships to garner new funding. This is not a boring grant course. It is very interactive, with all participants actually writing grant components throughout the two day workshop.


kiisa and LSU celebrate their sixth year partnership in the provision of this Successful Grant Writing Course to this region. You must register to attend!! Do not miss this opportunity. When you graduate from the Successful Grant Writing Course, you will be armed and ready to garner that much needed funding for your special project (s).


This course is open to the beginner and the expert. kiisa has constructed the course in such a manner that only the most innovative aspects and learning tools are utilized. We look forward to seeing you on March 27, 2017 and March 28, 2017 at LSU in Baton Rouge!


REGISTER at this link!!


Contact Kandie at 225-578-1214 or email her at for more information!


We will see you there folks!!


Sharon Sandifer, M.Ed

David Kiviaho

kiisa corporation Instructors

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Tags:  baton rouge  funding sources  grants  grantwriting  interactive  workshop 

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Scholarship Opportunity for Future Female Scientists: Emmy Noether Award

Posted By Tasha L. Cooper, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Friday, February 24, 2017

Scientific discovery is the future of technology and progress. The best ideas are out there, and YOU have them! We believe that you can make these ideas a reality through a career of scientific research and discovery. Science is for everyone. It does not discriminate based on background or resources, and it does not discriminate by gender. If you have an idea and a passion, it is yours to explore. We want to help you explore it. We need more girls in science. We need more girls who are going to discover, explore, and change the world. We need YOU! 


The Emmy Noether Award is a partnership among The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation (Brown Foundation), Benjamin Franklin High School, and From Student to Scientist. Sparked by an idea two high school scientists had to bring science to other students in a peer-to-peer based program, the Emmy Noether Award developed from the outreach program From Student to Scientist in partnership with Benjamin Franklin High School and the Brown Foundation to create a unique partnership among students, teachers, the community of New Orleans, and beyond.  


The Emmy Noether Award is an investment in the future of young female scientists. Two young scientists will be awarded with silver medals, and one young scientist will be awarded with a gold medal and $25,000 of funding for each of three years that she remains in a graduate level program to obtain a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics through which she will continue to pursue research and discovery.  
Additionally, all three medalists will become members of the Emmy Noether Scholars, a network of motivated young female scientists working to further science, innovation, and discovery for students and scientists of all ages and backgrounds. 


We are looking for girls who are juniors or seniors in high schools located in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines,        
St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes and Southwest Mississippi counties.




March 17th: Materials must be received by 11:59PM CST.

Please make sure that your application form is completed and the following materials are sent to: 


- Application form
- Two essays (one research essay and one personal essay sent by student)
- Official transcript (sent by school counselor)
- One letter of recommendation (teacher or mentor)
- Emmy Noether certification statement


*Please title all documents in the following format:



March 27th: Semifinalists will be notified via email. 
Semifinalists will be asked to schedule a 30 minute interview with the selection committee. 
April 22nd: Semifinalist interviews will be conducted at the Brown Foundation office. 
May 5th: Finalists will be notified via email. 
May 13th: Inaugural Celebration and Awards Ceremony (all Finalists invited to attend)


Contact us: 
Address 320 Metairie Hammond Hwy., Suite 500 

Metairie, LA 70005  

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