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Deductibility of membership magazine

  • 1.  Deductibility of membership magazine

    Posted 08-17-2021 01:59 PM
    An nonprofit association client of ours produces a magazine that is distributed as a member benefit. The magazine is provided at membership levels where its cost would exceed thresholds for being a token benefit, and so a QPQ receipt is issued.

    The first question is whether it is possible to view not as a gift in exchange for membership, but as an educational project. The material is all directly related to the organization's mission and has many calls-to-action. Moreover, the magazine is distributed freely to anyone who requests a copy on the organization's website, through a form set up for making these requests. Some people make a request for a free copy each month and all those requests are honored, irrespective of how many times a person has gotten a free issue in the past. 

    There is no way to buy the magazine, it is only given to members and people who request it for free. Does it make sense to be able to characterize the magazine as part of the nonprofit's educational efforts rather than a membership benefit? 



    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    Data Strategy Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151
    isaac@sage70.com

    Schedule a 30-minute consultation now:


  • 2.  RE: Deductibility of membership magazine

    Posted 08-17-2021 02:06 PM
    Isaac, we had General Counsel look at a similar issue when I was at Duke University.  The argument was not related to the content or purpose of the magazine.  Instead, it boiled down to one simple question:  Did you have to buy it, or join, to get a copy?

    The answer to the question was, No.  However, much like your case, anyone desiring a copy of the magazine could obtain a copy for free by simply contacting the Alumni Office.  The only difference was that members of the Alumni Association did not have to ask - they got a copy when they joined.

    Counsel did require that the opportunity to obtain a free copy had to be "prominently displayed."  So we made a reference to this on both the Alumni landing page and within the magazine.

    Your client might want to obtain a legal opinion on this.  The legal opinion I received was twenty years ago.  But it still "feels right!"

    John

    John H. Taylor
    Principal
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987






  • 3.  RE: Deductibility of membership magazine

    Posted 08-17-2021 08:45 PM
    Thank you, as always, John. We'll consult counsel with this context.


    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    Data Strategy Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151
    isaac@sage70.com

    Schedule a 30-minute consultation now:







  • 4.  RE: Deductibility of membership magazine

    Posted 09-08-2021 04:00 PM
    In a somewhat related question, We would like to enable a voluntary subscription/donation for the printed version of our alumni magazine. With the ability to receive free access to the magazine online, would the full subscription amount received be considered a donation or would there be some QPQ since it is a physical printed version that they would also receive?

    Thank you,
    John Neff


    ------------------------------
    John Neff
    Exec. Dir. Development Services
    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
    neff17e@erau.edu
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Deductibility of membership magazine

    Posted 09-08-2021 04:07 PM
    If you can get access to either version without paying anything, as we did at Duke, then the entire payment is a deductible gift.  If you have to pay to get a subscription, then there is no gift.  But, if you give anyone who wants a subscription the opportunity to voluntarily contribute to help defray costs, that is a gift!

    John

    John H. Taylor
    Principal
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987