By Larry C. Howlett CPA

 The following policies intend to provide
guidance to a charity in accepting gifts in setting standards in evaluating
various kinds of gifts.  The types
of gifts, the limitation/restrictions placed on the gifts and the charity’s
administration of the gifts should be considered in accepting

 The members of the board of directors,
officers and staff should determine how these points apply to the charity, make
changes as needed and operate within these guidelines to best deal with donors
and protect the charity.

 Gifts should only be accepted if the donor
intends to benefit the charity and not seek personal financial gain from the

Gift acceptance policies may be used to
preserve relationships with donors, a valuable asset of a charity. 
Established written policies provide a means for the contact person of
the charity to defect the rejection of an offered gift on the policy, not a
personal choice.  The donor may
observe the charity is professional in its operations and maintains a high level
of integrity.  A gift acceptance
policy provides a means of consistency and communication with

The mission statement should be stated to
remind everyone of the purposes of gifts must conform to the purposes of the

The charity should primarily only accept
unrestricted gifts so the donated items may be used as the organization wishes
for its purposes.  Donor imposed
restrictions should conform to the mission of the charity. 
One of the recognized restrictions may be endowment for board established
purposes.  Restrictions that are
beyond the mission of the donor or for the private benefit of the donor should
be declined.

Donors must retain no control over the
gifts.  Any offers of gifts, where
the donors retain any degree of control should be rejected. 
The organization must accept only gifts when they have free and
unencumbered control to the gifts.

In evaluating if the charity should accept
real estate gifts, it must request the donor secures an environmental clearance
of the property.  The organization
should also consider if it can manage the property or dispose of it properly if
it chooses.