Handling donations
From: Tim Hunter (cohousinglgmail.com)
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:54:57 -0800 (PST)
Hi folks!

Our community is struggling with how to handle donations of furniture and 
equipment. How do others handle this issue in your community? Can you recommend 
a best practice?

We’re lucky to have some very generous members at Durham Coho. These folks are 
able - nay, eager - to donate furniture and equipment for use in our common 
rooms, and also money to buy such things. When we were moving in we relied on 
donations to furnish our common rooms. 

However, now we’re in and we’re looking at donations that replace or augment 
our current furniture and equipment. As much as we’d like to just say “Yes! We 
love donations!” we’re also aware that the issue might be a bit more 
complicated that it first appears. 

What if somebody wanted to donate a hot tub? A hot tub requires ongoing utility 
costs and maintenance costs and may only appeal to a subset of the community. 
Should we accept a donation that commits the community to these costs? 
Do donors have control over their donations? (“You have to put my couch in the 
media room and move the one that’s there somewhere else!”) 
Do members that can’t afford to make donations feel less valuable to the 
community? 
When should we turn down a donation? 
Is a monetary donation different from a material donation?


There are many more of these kinds of questions, but I won’t bother to list 
them all as I’m sure you can think of them yourself.

How should we decide when to accept a donation and when to turn it down? 

Thanks for your advice!

—
Tim Hunter
Durham Central Park Cohousing Community

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