The introduction of merchandise is great; however, these are not low cost articles under 26§513h2 and as a charity we are required to provide disclosure statements (Rev. Proc. 90-12, 1990-1 C.B. 471) for quid pro quo to donors (i.e., recipients of merchandise.) Legal details here (IRS Publication) and here (low cost article).
While we could include the statement in our thank you message, a post, a DM, or even the tier itself, tracking down every Patron who receives automated merchandise rewards can be challenging, especially when you do not permit 501c3 charities to have the much needed team function to manage corporate charitable fundraising efforts using Patreon as a premiere donor platform.
For Patreon accounts that are 501c3 charities, it would be helpful if automated merchandise notifications came with a simple statement saying what their tier contribution for that month was less the cost of the merchandise so they can keep it for tax reporting purposes. If the Creator account tax type is a 501c3, it could simply tack this text into the body of a merchandise notice email to the patron, for example:
IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION: Your [$TierValue] donation to [CharityName] this month has a different deductible value due to the merchandise you’re receiving from Patreon. The deductible value of your donation for this month only is [$TierLessMerchandiseCost]. Please contact [CharityName] if you have any questions.
There are likely better solutions for us than Patreon, but we’re loyal to such a transformative platform, so we’d like to not change that and see if Patreon will continue to help us meet our mission and fundraising milestones.