I’m a wholesaler and was asked if I can sponsor some prizes for a Tzedakah fundraiser… #1 If I plan on using this event for advertisement can I use Masser? #2 If I can use Masser, do I subtract the price I paid for it or do I subtract the amount I normally sell these products for?
1. You can use maaser money for sponsoring the event. Although you will be gaining a “side-benefit” of advertising, this is only a “side-benefit” and it is therefore permitted to use maaser money.
We find a similar ruling in the Taz (Yoreh De’ah 249:1), who rules that it is permitted for a person to purchase an Aliyah for his friend from maaser money. Although he is gaining a side-benefit, it remains permitted to use maaser money for the payment (this assumes that it is permitted to use maaser money for buying an Aliyah, which can depend on particular circumstances; see our articles on uses of maaser money for further details).
2. You should subtract the amount you pay for the items. As a wholesaler you can sell an unlimited amount of items, and therefore the contribution of the items is not going to make you lose any income; the only ‘loss’ is the amount you pay for the items, and therefore it is this amount that should be subtracted from maaser.