Building revenue through real estate donations

by Laurel Brow and Mike Wallace

Michigan Radio’s first real estate donation was a unique property: a motorcycle repair shop located in Lansing.

“The donation got us off to a great start, and it came in less than a month after we first started promoting the program,” recalled Steve Chrypinski, Marketing Director at Michigan Radio.

The donor was the son of the late owner of the shop. He lived out of state, and traveling back and forth to coordinate selling the property wasn’t realistic. He knew his father was an avid Michigan Radio fan, so when he heard they were accepting property donations, he realized he could resolve his dilemma while honoring his father’s memory.

Motorcycle repair shop donated to Michigan Radio

After some thoughtful outreach to potential local buyers, the shop sold for $50,000.

“Stations can’t just list commercial properties on Zillow – they need to be handled one on one,” says Heidi Artiga, who manages the Giving Property program within the nonprofit fundraising group CARS. “Luckily, we have the infrastructure to find unique buyers for many different types of properties. We’re seeing supporters donate their unused land, second homes, vacation properties, you name it.”

Residential real estate donated through Giving Property in Portales, NM

As with the motorcycle repair shop, many potential real estate donors are in unique situations wherein selling their property isn’t feasible. In these cases, donating provides an efficient option with the potential for significant tax advantages.

Giving Property’s nonprofit partners net an average of over $17,000 per real estate donation. “We put in a lot of legwork behind the scenes to sell these properties because they can have a huge payoff. We had a recent property donated that resulted in over $450,000 to the nonprofit partner,” Artiga shared.

Steve Chrypinski, Michigan Radio

CARS has been piloting Giving Property with several nonprofits, including Michigan Radio, and is now rolling the program out to stations around the country.

“We promote our real estate program similar to our vehicle donation program. We have several different on-air promo spots that we run on regular rotation year-round, and we mention the program in all of our newsletters. Anything to maintain that top-of-mind awareness that this is another way you can support public radio,” Chrypinski explained.

So far, more than 40 stations are gearing up to launch their Giving Property programs. CARS plans to expand the program to help all partner stations generate additional funding in 2022, and they will be sharing results at PMDMC in July. More information can be found at