Is Your Gift Acceptance Policy in Tip-Top Shape?

We welcome back a special guest on the blog: Stelter’s Senior Gift Planning Consultant, Lynn M. Gaumer, J.D. Today Lynn shares some tips to strengthen your gift acceptance policy.

In last week’s blog, we gave you a free download to help your donors calculate their wealth. This week, I want to keep the conversation going but shift the focus to accepting gifts of wealth or noncash assets. Let’s look at how your gift acceptance policy can not only address these assets but also minimize risk to your organization.

I know that complex or high-risk assets can be difficult to navigate. The key is having a clear, cohesive gift acceptance policy that outlines what kinds of gifts you will or won’t accept and how those gifts will be administered. Here are some resources to help.

National Standards

The National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (NACGP) published standards that provide helpful guidance on how nonprofits can establish “clear policies to manage risk and ensure accountability to donors and the nonprofit and the public.” These standards are divided into three broad categories: Support from the Top; The Ability and Capacity to Execute; and Donor Centric Engagement & Management.

Standard four in the Support from the Top category highlights policies every nonprofit should have. In addition, NACGP offers several helpful downloads on how to create and implement your own policies and links to a number of exemplary policies in practice at universities and other nonprofits.

8 Elements of a Good Gift Acceptance Policy

One resource I find especially valuable is from Jonathan Tidd, a successful author and attorney whose practice is limited to advising charitable organizations on gift planning issues. I blogged about his eight elements of a good gift acceptance policy in the past; here is Jonathan’s list:

  1. Provide authority on who can negotiate arrangements and accept gifts on behalf of your nonprofit. (This can include working with a third-party nonprofit like a community foundation, Realty Gift Fund or Charitable Solutions, LLC.)
  2. Outline which gifts will and won’t be accepted.
  3. Describe how pledges will be handled.
  4. Describe how gift agreements will be addressed.
  5. Outline the protocol for gift receipts.
  6. Address how donor-obtained appraisals will be handled.
  7. Outline whether your organization will issue gift annuities and, if so, by what practices.
  8. Prohibit a development officer from accepting personal gifts from donors.

Don’t Forget About Cryptocurrency

I offered a look at charitable cryptocurrency last season. We all know this topic is not going away. According to a March 2022 article from Exploding Topics, about 46 million Americans (22% of the adult population) own a share of Bitcoin.

There has been a lot of discussion in the industry about these gifts and what the parameters should be around accepting them. Be sure to address cryptocurrency in your gift acceptance policy. You can find some great examples online from CalPolyPomona Philanthropic Foundation and San Francisco State University Foundation

Has Anyone Been Offered an NFT?

One final thought, the NACGP recommends revisiting your gift acceptance policies annually or bi-annually. They are living, breathing documents and will need to stay current with the growing acceptance of digital assets. For example, what if a donor offered you a non-fungible token (NFT) today?

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