Western Lands Preservation is a for-profit entity, and we make no alms about this. When you purchase our Products or sign up for a Membership, you cannot write them off on your taxes. And neither do we benefit from fewer taxes. Our income from product sales, sponsorships, memberships and gifts is treated like income for any other for-profit enterprise.
Why do we do this?
1) Handing out tax benefits to one group, at the expense of other groups, is not equitable. If we were a charity, then our members, customers and donors would be able to write off their gifts to us on their taxes, thus lowering their taxes. And we would then not have to pay taxes on the money we received. This would be fine, except for everyone else who pays taxes, and who may not support what we do, since their taxes will have to increase to make up the difference.
2) We like having lower taxes, and charities as a group benefit more from higher taxes. With higher taxes, individuals have more financial incentive to give money to charities, so they can write off those expenses from their taxes. So all of the charities in the U.S. (all ~1.5 million of them) have an incentive for everyone's taxes to be as high as possible. We think lower taxes are a good thing, and we do not want to be part of a group that is systemically for higher taxes.
3) Third, protecting Western Lands is a worthy cause, but not everyone thinks so. We don't think it's right to force them to pay more in taxes if they don't support us. We don't like paying taxes to fund things we don't support, so we do not want to subject others to the same grievance. Treat others as you would have them treat you.
4) We are supporters of the free market, and want our business to thrive on the greatness of our cause, the value in our products, and the generosity of people who benefit from our products and support what we do. To us, getting benefits from the government, who takes it from others who produce, would be a mark of shame, since it shows that we have to rely on other people's money to fund what we can't.
Being a for-profit enterprise also affords us more flexibility than our non-profit counterparts. We are not constrained by the reliance on gifts; we can sell our own products and services to generate revenue ourselves. Charities are also, by definition, less oriented toward making a profit. That means they are usually more free with the money they obtain through tax deductible means, spending it in a less efficient way than an entity looking to maximize it's profits. And when we maximize our profits, that means we can purchase and preserve more land, resulting in a win-win for everyone.
Here's what motivates us each morning . . .
Establish a Legacy