We run a free medical clinic but are considering the potential of charging patients. As a first step we may ask patients for suggested donations when serving them with medical care. We would not require a donation for service. Should the suggested donation be considered a charitable contribution or should we treat it as a quid pro quo donation?
The key is whether you will provide the services without the donation. If so, the donation is voluntary and a real contribution. If not, it is a fee for service. Sounds like yours is a donation.