donation of photo services to non-profit

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by m_p|7, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. My wife and I (both photographers) have volunteered to provide
    photographic coverage of a fund-raiser event for a local non-profit
    performing arts company.

    The event is a charity dinner, silent auction, performance, with
    about 200-300 people expected to attend. I expect to give them
    rights to use some images on their website (and perhaps in
    brochures, etc.) to promote future events. In return, I'll be listed
    as a sponsor in the program, and I'll ask for photo credits on any

    Can anyone make recommendations as to what written agreements should
    be made up? Also, what documentation do I need in order to establish
    the value for tax-deductible benefits? Are services even tax-

    I suppose I could give them a standard contract, then do a 100%
    discount, but I don't want to turn them off with a lot of legal
    mumbo-jumbo. I will, however, be specific with any usage rights
    agreements that arise from the resulting photographs.

    Anyone ever done something like this before?
  2. I don't think services are tax-deductible. Likewise, if you donate prints, only the cost of materials are deductible. I would enter into a good contract with them, since other arrangements have little value, should a dispute arise. Terra Galleria stock photography
  3. M P,
    I shoot gratis for non-profits all the time as I feel it is a great networking tool; it shows people who will see your work that you care about something else besides yourself and that can go a long way in the business.
    My question to you is are you a pro shooter now? If so, you should certanly use your standard forms and contract and grant a 100% discount. Your fees and costs (lab, travel, etc) are deductable against your income, just as if you gave them a gift certificate for your services instead.
    Don't worry about presenting them with legal-ease, people expect that from pros.
  4. First, if you feel strongly about the charity, than no harm done and think of the process as a gift first, and a job second. The rewards, as others mentioned will include: networking, exposure & name association. As for taxes, see an accountant -no further discussion needed- this is what they do and everyone knows a piece of the law, but these guys(and gals) have to be responsible when they give advice. I guess I could say the same about contracts & lawyers, but if it were me, I would basically write it to retain copyrights, but grant licensing. I personlly would give them unlimited usage rights on a few good shots with a clause about your name appearing in each publication in a font size equal or at least 80% of the standard font for the page on which it appears. Have them also allow you to use their name(if you support the org, in your reference list).
  5. Here when we do some local printing for non-profit organizations; we only get to deduct the paper; ink; and toner we use. Since this is already a deducted expense at out shop; the "tax savings" of doing "non profit organization" printing is none. You are basically doing work for free; out of the good of your heart; to help others. The value of your work is zero; from a tax standpoint.
  6. Fees for services are not deductable. the only thing you can deduct is the cost of the
    materials used & (maybe) mileage, tolls and other out of pocket expenditures for
    which youy have a receipt.

    You should provide them with an invoice for these expenses. you should provide
    them wit ha seperate letter indicatingthe value ofthe services you have donated. You
    should also talk to their accountant.
  7. Addendum;
    The non profit needs to know the value of your donated services for their financial purposes. And if you already deduct your materials and expenses you cannot deduct them twice.
    "I don't want to turn them off with a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo."
    I would not worry about that. They probably already have more legal advice then you do. Just because they are a small non-profit organization doesn't mean that they are not run like a real business. They have to take care of their taxes, track finances, report to a board of directors (hopefully). deal with issues of liability, and deal with other contracts and suppliers on a regualr basis.
  8. Another solution is the "check swap." Recognizing that you both have businesses to run and that you both have taxes to deal with, most non-profits are fine with this arrangement. You simply bill them at your hourly rate (or however you usually bill) and send them an invoice. They pay it. Then you write them a check in the same amount as a donation (assuming they're a 501C3 or other recognized non-profit). Essentially, you swap checks. They enter the payout for professional services into their books (a deduction), you write off the the donation in yours (a deduction). Both parties win and the tax folks are happy. It also keeps your books straight. See your accountant or tax attorney for more details.

  9. "Both parties win and the tax folks are happy."

    Really? This seems like it's too good to be true. I guess with a sole-proprietorship you could have them pay the business, and make the donation from your personal accounts. That would separate the financial transactions a bit, and just might work. I guess I just worry that if you were audited that they'd see the matching amounts/dates and tell you that you can't deduct services, which you would essentially be doing with the check swap. Sounds sketchy. If this were legal, I could bill my time at $10,000/hour and save myself thousands of dollars per year in tax liability (depending on tax bracket). That's shaky ground if you ask me.
  10. If this were legal, I could bill my time at $10,000/hour and save myself thousands of dollars per year in tax liability
    I don't understand the benefit of the check swap, either. You can't deduct services. Even with the check swap. They pay you $10,000. You donate $10,000 to them. You can now deduct $10k from your income, which just increased by $10k. Same as if you had donated your services and only deducted actual expenses.
  11. Hi.
    I've been involved in a similar situation recently, volenteering to
    shoot for a non-profit organization that holds events, but on a
    more regular basis. At first I was just flying by the seat of my
    pants with it, and it seemed all they wanted to use were shots for
    their website. Although I really support the organization, it has
    been a bit of a struggle to gain their acknowledgement regarding
    consistently crediting my shots correctly. Things are getting a bit
    more complex now, as they are looking for higher res. files for
    their promotional publications.
    I am just starting out, and am really wanting to come up with a
    legitimately agreed upon usage contract before handing over any
    high res. imagery. Does anyone have advice on where I might
    find a standard contract of this sort, that I may be able to adapt?
    Thanks so much ahead of time for any input!

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