Institute a Gift Acceptance Policy for Your Nonprofit

If you are like me, January is the time to be sure that all of those less than perfect holiday presents have a good home.  Whether it’s the fuschia mock turtleneck or the fish shaped salt and pepper shakers, I like to be sure that all of my holiday presents are properly acknowledged and put away (or given away) before the start of the year. 

Many nonprofit development offices have a similar task before them, not only at the end of the busy holiday season, but throughout the year.  In fact, if you are like many development staff people, you need to be constantly vigilant in determining whether or not your organization should even ACCEPT a gift in the first place.  Some gifts that may show up at your organization’s front door might actually cause your organization more harm than good—and these gifts should be refused.  As the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® states, “An organization should have policies in place to govern the acceptance and disposition of charitable gifts that are received in the course of its regular fundraising activities. These policies should include procedures to determine any limits on individuals or entities from which the organization will accept a gift, the purposes for which donations will be accepted, the type of property which will be accepted, and whether to accept an unusual or unanticipated gift in light of the organization’s mission and organizational capacity.” You will also want to be sure that your board has formally reviewed and approved the policy.

Did you know?  Our educational resource packet, “Fundraising Practices” includes model gift acceptance and fundraising policies. The packet is free and available to Standards for Excellence Institute® members.  It is available through the members only section of our website.  Hard copies are also available upon request.

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About Amy Coates Madsen

Amy Coates Madsen serves as the Program Director of the Standards for Excellence Institute.
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