Gift Acceptance Policy

Written by on November 25, 2022

Why Should You Adopt a Gift Acceptance Policy

While it might be human nature to accept gifts graciously, we recommend weighing the pros and cons that this act may create for your organization. As a result, gifts can be a very challenging area for the majority of nonprofit organizations.

Large and important, or small and thoughtful donations, all add to the plight of deciding whether to accept or decline gifts. Vehicles, equipment, and donations are the most common examples. Creating a gift acceptance policy will help your organization to be conscious of the factors when accepting and declining gifts. Moreover, a gift acceptance policy created to aid in the standard process of analyzing a donor’s gifts could be of best interest to your organization.

What is a Gift Acceptance Policy and its Role

A gift acceptance policy is a guide that contributes to good governance. This policy provides specific guidelines as to what gifts in kind can be accepted and the process by which they are accepted. A well-written gift policy helps benefit the organization by easing the decision process and managing donors’ gift expectations. Examples of crucial key reasonings behind why creating a gift policy may include:

  • Gift policies help to create comfortable and respectful grounds for relationships with donors and organizations

  • Levels of transparency created through the implementation of a gift policy help to eliminate miscommunications

  • Awareness of the possibility of failing at maintaining certain types of gifts or creating reputational risk while trying to utilize these donations, helps an organization weigh the pros and cons of declining or accepting gifts

  • Creates practices to ensure the organization is abiding by legal and lawful obligations

Why Should You Adopt a Gift Acceptance Policy

A gift acceptance policy provides an objective way to decline or accept a gift but still maintain a good relationship with the contributor. Additionally, ensures the Board’s decision to accept a gift is above reproach. Even well-meaning acceptance of a gift can have the appearance of impropriety. Adopting such a policy aids the organization in keeping the organization safe from legal matters and reputational risk.

When creating your policy, engage your lawyer and or accountant regarding how to handle any gift that has a high dollar amount and what are the acceptable thresholds. There are plenty of sources to help you craft your gift acceptance policy, but we recommend starting with The National Council of Nonprofits Donor’s Bill of Rights. Additional to the policy is the Gift Registry. This will be outlined in the policy, but it is a simple record of the gifts donated and if the gift was accepted or declined.


Types of Gifts and Circumstances of Gift Acceptance

  1. Board Members and Committee solicit and accept gifts consistent with the club’s vision or to achieve a project
  2. Donations will likely be accepted from all sports individuals, company partnerships, sports corporations, foundations, government agencies, or other entities, without great limitation
  3. During all regular fundraising activities, the board and committee will accept donations of money, real property, personal property, stock, and in-kind services
  4. There are still various types of gifts that must be reviewed prior to acceptance because of liability issues they may pose. Some examples of gifts that will be subject to review include real forms of property, gifts of personal sports property, and gifts of securities
  5. All Non-Standard Contributions defined by the IRS as “contribution of an item that is not reasonably expected to be used to satisfy or further the organization’s exempt purpose,” will not be accepted under any means

The Bottom Line

Some nonprofits are turning certain gifts down, citing issues of condition, space limitations and or unsuitability to their missions. You are fortunate to be in a club that can accept gifts, however, that doesn’t mean that your organization shouldn’t have a gift acceptance policy. Having a gift policy provides a sound process on accepting and declining a donor’s gifts, may heighten various aspects of your organization.

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