Hello -St. John's College has a campus art gallery (The Mitchell Gallery) that sells memberships. We have just redone their membership categories and I asked what portion or amount of the membership fee are considered benefits. I was told there are no benefits extended when joining.
Here's my conundrum and where I would like your expertise advise:
1) All Memberships include memberships to NARM (North American Reciprocal Museum Association) which entitles those purchasing memberships at $100 and above access to free entry at members museums. I also recall that memberships at the $75 level or below with insubstantial benefits such a free entry entry - can extend full tex-duductibility for the membership. Since, our memberships start at $100 (c condition set by NARM) is a portion of our membership a benefit that must be deducted as non- tax-deductible. How do you folks with membership program handle this benefit that is not available to those visiting the Museum who do not purchase a mebership?
2) Our memberships also have "Exclusive" invitations to events and receptions. At the receptions beverages, food and occassionally alcohol. The receptions are not paid through a gift from donor but are instead paid for by the Museum's general expense budget. When I inquired as to an estimate of a per person cost I was told it didn't matter - their budget was covering the expense. I asked if they could develop some cost per member is beverage and food costs so we could ask the auditors if this was considered a substantial benefit I was again told the benefit was not substantial without any analysis of the numbers. How would your organization go about finding if these receptions are a substantial or insubstantial benefit?I'm inclined to insist upon a nominal benefit of $25 - the difference that between the membership at $75 with free visits and the NARM $100 requirement for benefits.Any help would be appreciated.