Donating Nights for Charity

Anyone who doesn’t operate a more traditional B&B or vacation rental property, such as a couple spare bedrooms in your home and use Airbnb exclusively, ever donate a night or 2 to local charity organization’s auction event?

Since we don’t really operate outside the parameters of Airbnb, this wouldn’t necessarily work well for non-Airbnb guests, or a new-to-Airbnb-for-the-purpose-of-booking-a-guestroom-they-won-at-a-charity-event guest.

Any ideas/suggestions?

How about they make an account and then they put in the dates and you counter with a $10 offer?

Easier said then down for novice Airbnb users. Until I know who the winner is, it’s a complete mystery.

It could be done, but the logistics of making it happen seem complicated. Do they still pay taxes? What about the Airbnb fee? Cleaning? Plus, I need to know which nights they want as soon as they know, so I can get the dates booked or blocked. There’s also absolutely no guarantee the nights someone might want will be available.

I’m inclined to say no and just make a donation for the value of one night’s stay.

We could commit to donating a portion of earnings through Airbnb, but not right now.

Just wondering if anyone has done this.

I’ve done it a few times. I handle it as a direct booking not through Airbnb. I have them simply contact me directly via email and set it up that way. Be sure to include the language “subject to availability” on the bid sheet/documentation. And be SURE to include any blackout dates (i.e. event dates, holidays, etc.).

If they want to extend their stay past the donated nights, I have them book those through the platform.

One piece of advice: make sure whatever fine print or house rules you normally have are conveyed on the bid sheet/document so they can review before bidding. We are not a kid-friendly property, so the guy who won the stay bringing his 3 year old was awkward. The house is really not set up for little kids, and the parents were GREAT but they were a little nervous about it and so was I (loft bedroom, breakables in lower cabinets, etc.). Good luck!


No, we haven’t done that.

Our area had multiple, horrible tornadoes last spring. We ended up with three small groups who needed a place to stay on different nights, as their homes were destroyed.

They each booked with us at our regular rate. After they checked in, we talked to them and found out their circumstances. Then after we received Airbnb payment, we refunded their whole Airbnb payment (including the Airbnb fee).

It was such a terrible time for many, many families.


I’ll discuss it with my partner/spouse. It’s definitely an organization we support.

The tip about the fine print is good.

We don’t typically have blackout dates, but I might limit this to non-holidays only, and large events. Although that might be difficult bc I don’t always know when there’s a large event happening until someone books for it. I can glean most events from a community calendar, but when do I stop considering a large event a “large event”? Not to mention, for most “large events,” our space is often already booked by someone else for some other event.

Plus, booking with locals has not always been easy. There are millions of Airbnb guests all over the world, I’m not sure I need to be marketing our space locally.

I may have just talked myself out this.

Sorry, I wasn’t clear: I mean city-wide events that draw thousands of people, in which case I often raise my Airbnb prices, e.g. the Rock N Roll Marathon being run this weekend.

LOL, “large events” is relative. For us, a large event would be a few hundred people. Views peak just a few days before our “large events,” but we’re usually already booked. I only live in city of 42k ppl. Our largest event is a beer festival. Actually, I think our largest event is a Brazilian rodeo which I think gets to close to 2,000 spectators, but no one has stayed with us for any of those events.

We usually just get business travelers or moms visiting their kids at one of the boarding schools. Or the local university’s graduation - if we’re not already booked.

There’s even a regional criterion, drawing a few hundred cyclists and their crews, but zero guests from that, too.

It’s easy enough to coordinate a single reservation as a private booking, but the local charity part is where I’d wonder if it’s worth doing. Seems like the best case is that the winner would be a local who gives the stay to a friend/relative visiting from out-of-town.

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Seems like the best case is that the winner would be a local who gives the stay to a friend/relative visiting from out-of-town.

That’s exactly what I’d expect, and that’s exactly what I try to avoid (it happens). However, I understand I’d be offering our space offline as if it was an established B&B, which it’s not.

Since we’re not a B&B home establishment, there’s not marketing benefit to offering our space at a charity auction, except to look nice to the community. is the marketing piece for us.

Although, Airbnb hosts are a complete mystery to many people who live around here, this might help normalize the Airbnb experience for someone coming to the area. We get a lot of first-time guests, and guests (pleasantly) surprised by how nice our home considering where we’re located (perception of my city is not kind).

There are reasons far beyond whether we want to give up a night or two of revenue, which won’t break the bank, so I’m really still undecided.

I donated a three day, two night dog boarding to a charity event. Someone bid on it but no one ever contacted me to claim it. :slight_smile:

On Airbnb I have a line at the bottom of my listing that I donate 10% of my revenue to a charity. For each year I name the charity: Borderland Rainbow Center, Annunciation House, etc.


I’ve considered doing that. We already donate to a local shelter, so I guess technically we’re already doing that, but it’s not quite 10%.

We also donate to our local NPR station, Doctors without Borders, my own NPO, and other random charities.

You could even say 5%. I feel it sends the careful reader a message about my values and helps me attract the kinds of guests I’ll enjoy sharing my home with. And it makes me commit to a dollar amount; it sort of holds me accountable so to speak.

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For U. S. hosts, contributing use of property (e.g. rental nights) is not a tax deductible charitable donation because you are not contributing your entire interest in the property. See IRS Publication 526.
Of course you may do it out of the goodness of your heart or for marketing purposes!
For discussion purposes only; not a professional tax opinion. Consult your accountant.

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Thanks for the taxplanation. I knew that. “Donate” is not the best choice of word here.

I was mainly asking if anyone contributed a night or two to a local charity auction and how that has worked out. I am assuming the winner, or recipient of the nights’ stay, will not be an Airbnb user, and we or not a B&B home establishment, so the process will be clunky at best.

If altruism was tax-deductible, I’d get a full refund.

I talked myself out of doing it for my AirBnB whole house rental with a pool. I had considered gifting a 2 night stay to a local charity but it would most like be locals and then my house may be subject to all sorts coming by for the pool and party regardless of the “House Rules”.
I need to vet my guests and Declined many requests this past season. “30 year olds celebrating birthday” etc etc…

I just did something similar to this at work for a United Way event. I donated the taxes, cleaning and three nights stay. I was told who won, they paid their money go to UW and now he and I will work to get the time scheduled and I will block the calendar for them. Just hope they don’t want to go at the same time I’m there for our kiddo’s spring break, ha!

Just make it part of donation that accommodation must be stayed in on certain dates and block them off in your diary. @Josiah

Simple .

I’ve done it twice and donated two night stays at two of our houses that are on AirBnB. I’m on the board of a local non-profit and donated the stays as raffle prizes at one of our fundraising events. The event was months ago. Neither of the winning parties has ever contacted me to book the stay. If/when they do, I’ll handle it as a direct booking.

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This seems to be a recurring theme with donated services.

In a previous life (:slight_smile:) I’ve probably offered up four, maybe five, charity auction/prize draw prizes of a complete web site, max six pages and to include hosting, domain, support, maintenance etc for one year. Never once has the winner taken up the offer, despite some folks paying a lot of money for the privilege.