Are Tickets to My Nonprofit’s Fundraiser Tax-Deductible?

July 31, 2018

A tree made of colorful handprints with fundraising written in black fontEven if everything for your fundraising event was donated, those who purchase tickets and attend your event MAY NOT take a tax deduction for the full cost of their tickets to your fundraiser. The cost to your organization for this event (or any event) does not impact the deductibility for those who buy tickets to your event. Thus, even if every single expense for your event is covered by another individual or company, those who attend still consume something of value.

The important thing to remember is that your organization must calculate the fair market value of the goods and services the attendee receives in exchange for their ticket purchase. Only the amount of the purchase price that exceeds the fair market value of what the ticket purchasers receive is deductible as a charitable contribution. If the ticket purchaser pays an amount of money that exceeds the fair market value of what is received, then this excess is what can qualify as a tax deductible charitable contribution. If the amount of money paid or a ticket is equal to or less than the fair market value of what is received by attending the event, then NONE of the ticket price can be considered a tax-deductible donation.  

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From the Standards for Excellence®: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector. The Standards for Excellence code, developed by the Standards for Excellence Institute, includes specific benchmarks and measures that provide a structured approach to building capacity, accountability, and sustainability in your nonprofit organization. The code identifies 6 major areas of nonprofit governance and management: Mission, Strategy, and Evaluation; Leadership: Board, Staff, and Volunteers; Legal Compliance and Ethics; Finance and Operations; Resource Development and Fundraising; and Public Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy.

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