Non-Profit Gift Acceptance Policy
Non-Profit Gift Acceptance Policy Preparation Form – We recommend that you gather the information in this form prior to accessing the online questionnaire. Doing so will help you efficiently create your custom Non-Profit Gift Acceptance Policy.
This gift acceptance policy for non-profit charitable organizations covers most common types of gifts non-profits receive. Examples of such gifts include cash, in-kind gifts, real property, and securities. This policy provides guidance to the non-profit’s board, board committees, and staff on the effective solicitation and acceptance of gifts. Additionally, this policy provides guidance regarding the non-profit’s donors and the gifts the non-profit is willing to accept. While it may seem counterintuitive for a non-profit organization to reject donations, some gifts may actually:
- Cost the non-profit more time and money than the item is worth;
- Damage the non-profit’s reputation; and
- Threaten its tax-exempt status.
Gifts are generally given from a place of goodwill towards the non-profit. The non-profit should take care to not offend a potential donor. A gift acceptance policy allows the non-profit to uniformly and consistently handle these situations. The gift acceptance policy should address:
- What types of gifts the non-profit will or will not accept.
- Who may make the decision to either accept or reject a gift.
- How the decision to accept or reject should be reached.
When deciding what to include in the policy, the non-profit should consider:
- Types of gifts it typically is offered.
- The types of gifts it has accepted.
- The types of gifts it has turned down in the past.
- Any issues that have arisen in the past related to gift giving, either regarding internal processes or after a gift was accepted or rejected. (E.g., the non-profit’s role in gift administration.)
It is common to make the gift acceptance policy publicly available on the non-profit’s website or in its solicitation materials. Doing so helps donors understand the types of gifts that are acceptable to the non-profit. It can also help non-profits avoid the uncomfortable position of having to turn down a gift. Some non-profits post a simplified version that lists the types of gifts they accept rather than the full policy itself. For instance, many animal shelters list the specific items they most need, such as cat litter or food, to help guide potential donors who want to help.
Customizing the Policy
The non-profit should evaluate its particular situation both when drafting its gift acceptance policy and when reviewing its existing policy. The non-profit should review and update this policy annually if needed. The level of detail and complexity of the policy depends greatly on:
- The types of gifts the non-profit is likely to receive.
- The size of the non-profit.
- The non-profit’s specific considerations and needs, such as its mission or geographic scope.
For example, a non-profit focused on environmental preservation may be more likely to receive gifts of land. It should therefore have more detailed guidance on evaluating a gift of real property than a local non-profit focused on feeding the homeless that may only occasionally be offered real property.
Similarly, a larger non-profit may have employees responsible for soliciting, reviewing, and accepting gifts. As a result, it may need a more detailed policy that specifies when the board needs to be consulted before accepting a gift. In contrast, a smaller non-profit may leave the decision-making directly with its board members or executive director. It may need a simpler policy that does not assign decision-making to different levels of authority.This document can be purchased as a stand along document or as part of our Non-Profit Compliance Package.
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