Development and Gift Acceptance Policy
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the Broome County Council of Churches (the “Council”) fund raising practices meet high ethical standards, reflect its integrity and are consistent with its mission. It also establishes appropriate governance for the acceptance and administration of gifts to the Council.
This policy shall apply to all of the Council’s fundraising and fund development efforts, including but not limited to direct mail and on-line solicitation; telephone and in-person contact with individuals groups, organizations and corporations; special events; applications for grants and contracts; and deferred giving programs.
The Council will comply with all local, state and federal laws applying to the solicitation, acknowledgment, and use of funds by nonprofit, exempt organizations, including laws pertaining to prizes or raffles.
Solicitation and other contacts with donors and prospective donors will be carried out by board members, staff members, and volunteers. The Council will not engage any fund raising entities or individuals, commercial or otherwise, whose practices and activities are not under the Council’s direct control and supervision.
The Council will not compensate staff members or any other solicitors or fund raising entities on the basis of a percentage of the funds raised. The Council will pay no finders fees for referrals of donors or potential donors. The Council will not engage in or condone intimidating, coercive, disrespectful, or high pressure tactics in its fund raising efforts. The Council will not send solicitors or others to donor’s homes to pick up contributions committed by oral or written pledge.
The Council will make no misleading, exaggerated, or undocumented claims regarding its achievements, nor unrealistic promises of future outcomes. The Council will not use photographs, quotations, or narratives that could identify the subject of the narrative, without the written consent of the individual(s) involved. If any of the subjects involved are minors, the written consent of both the minor(s) and the parents or legal guardians shall be obtained in advance of publication of such photographs, quotations, or narratives.
It is the policy of the Council to protect the privacy of its contributors and donors. Within the constraints of its capacity and feasibility, the Council will, through encryption and other technology, provide secure Internet connections for donors who wish to contribute by electronic means, and will guard against identity theft and other invasions of donor privacy.
The Council will not sell or inappropriately share its donor lists, or identifiable information about its donors, with other organizations or commercial enterprises. Sharing information for audits by independent accountants and for regulatory or accrediting inquiries will not be deemed a violation of this policy.
Gift Acceptance Policies and Procedures for Fundraising
A. Cash Gifts and Pledges
1. Unrestricted Gifts of Cash – Gifts given without restriction on the use of the gift.
a) Unrestricted gifts are recorded as unrestricted and used to fund current operations or to maintain reserves.
b) It is recommended that all contributions above $5,000 (even unrestricted gifts) be accompanied by a statement that makes clear the donor’s intent in contributing his or her gift.
c) Unrestricted bequests are designated at the discretion of the Board of Directors
2. Restricted Gifts of Cash – Gifts given for purposes specified by the donor.
a) Gifts restricted for general operations are recorded and deposited into the current operating account or into the operating reserve.
b) Gifts restricted for programs are recorded and deposited into the program reserve to be used for current or future programs as specified by the donors.
c) Gifts restricted for Endowment are put into the Endowment Fund.
3. Pledges – Promises to contribute amounts specified by donors.
a) Pledges may be restricted or unrestricted as described above and may be one-year or multi-year commitments.
b) Pledges are expected to be fulfilled with contributions of cash or stock.
4. Matching gifts
Unless the company specifies otherwise, matching gifts from corporations follow the restrictions of the donor whose gift is being matched: if a donor makes an unrestricted gift, the matching gift is unrestricted and, if the donor makes a restricted gift, the match is likewise restricted. The Council counts matching gifts toward an individual’s gift total in the year the matching gift is received.
5. Publicly Traded Securities:
Upon receipt of a gift of donated securities, the Director of Finance or the Executive Director or their designee places, as soon as practical, the securities with a recognized broker for sale at the earliest practical date. It is not the Council’s policy to hold securities for an extended length of time. Such gifts are credited to donors according to current IRS codes.
6. Credit Cards:
The Council accepts VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. For gifts made by credit card, the date the charge is accepted for processing by the Council is the applicable date of the gift.
The Council accepts PayPal payments (PCI/DSS Compliant)
B. Non-Cash Gifts
1. In-Kind Contributions – Gifts of goods or services.
a) When the Council receives a gift of goods and services, often referred to as a “Gift in Kind” (e.g., building materials, equipment), or a gift of individual or corporate services (e.g., advertising, printing, installation, etc.) and the value of that gift is determined to be less than $5,000, the gift is processed as a non-cash gift and is considered restricted in nature. The Council does not issue a receipt showing the cash value of such gifts, but acknowledges receipt of the object or services.
b) In-kind contributions that cover expenses in the annual operating budget may be used to fulfill pledges to The Council. Such a contribution is acknowledged as payment toward the pledged amount.
c) For any gift-in-kind with an apparent value in excess of $5,000, the gift is considered restricted, and the Council is required to sign the Form 8283 which must be filed by the donor with the Internal Revenue Service; it is important for the Council to retain a copy of the signed and executed Form 8283. If the Council disposes of the item in question within two years of its receipt, the Council must file Form 8282 with the Internal Revenue Service.
d) For tax purposes gifts in kind must be valued by the donor and costs associated with an appraisal are the responsibility of the donor.
2. Real Estate or Real Property:
a) No gift of real estate or real property is accepted if such acceptance causes the Council to incur a financial burden, potential liability, or other obligations, unless otherwise determined by the Board of Directors.
b) In most situations, a Phase I environmental impact study done at the owner’s expense, is required to accompany a gift of real estate.
c) Acceptance is contingent on an independent appraisal paid for by the donor. The Council does not value any such donated item for tax purposes.
d) If property cannot be liquidated in a reasonable amount of time, the Council may choose to decline the gift.
3. Life Insurance
a) The Council accepts only fully paid insurance policies for which the Council is named as beneficiary and the irrevocable owner of the policy.
b) Gifts of life insurance are credited at face value as pledges receivable as designated by the Board of Directors unless specified by the donor.
4. Closely Held Securities
a) Gifts of closely held securities are subject to prior approval of the Executive Committee. The valuation of securities that are not publicly traded is the responsibility of the donor, and such gifts must be accompanied by an independent qualified appraisal to be credited toward the Campaign.
b) Gifts of closely held securities are accepted barring any restrictions on their sale and once their legal marketability is determined. The donor is required to provide this valuation if appropriate.
c) Securities need to be marketable and able to be liquidated in a reasonable amount of time.
d) Donor is responsible for all costs associated with ensuring donated securities are marketable with no restrictions.
5. Planned Gifts
a) Trusts – The Council welcomes Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Remainder Unitrusts, and Charitable Lead Trusts. While the Council does not actively manage such trusts, it does refer donors to appropriate professionals who can assist them.
b) Gift Annuities – This contractual agreement whereby a company pays a beneficiary a specified annuity for life in exchange for a gift may be entered into after consideration by the Executive Committee of the size of the gift and the life expectancy of the annuitant, as well as of general market rates. The minimum gift accepted for a gift annuity is $10,000.
c) Named Funds – A donor may establish a Named Fund, provided the Board does not find the name to be unacceptable, with a minimum contribution of $25,000. In establishing a Named Fund, an agreement must be signed by both the donor and the Executive Director and Board President which sets forth:
a) The name of the donor/donors;
b) The name of the Fund;
c) The initial amount given or pledged to establish the Fund;
d) The purpose of the Fund;
e) An understanding that the Fund’s principal is pooled with other endowments for purposes of investment and income distribution or allocation, and
f) that the Fund is governed by general policies established by the Board with regard to the investment and disbursements of the endowment, as amended from time to time.
Agreements establishing Named Funds are reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors prior to acceptance of the Named Fund. Signed Named Fund Agreements are on file in the Finance Department and the Development Department Department
C) Unacceptable Gifts
The Executive Committee makes the final decision about acceptance of gifts that may be deemed to fall outside of established policy guidelines. It is not required to accept any charitable gifts or contributions, particularly those which:
a) Are designated with restrictions that fall significantly outside the organization’s mission and program priorities;
b) May cost the organization money, provide a liability or potential penalty of any kind;
c) Have conditions that are not in the best interest of the Council, or those that fall outside ethical boundaries.
d) Are not able to be liquidated into cash in a reasonable amount of time.
D) Interpretation of Gift Acceptance Policies
The Director of Development is assisted in the interpretation and implementation of these guidelines by the Executive Director, Director of Finance, the President of the Board of Directors, Treasurer, Finance Committee and Executive Committee. Other Board members may be consulted at the Executive Committee’s discretion. Advice may be sought from the agency’s auditors. The Executive Committee’s role is to approve gift agreements and the acceptance of gifts that deviate from these policies.
E) Review and Amendments of Gift Acceptance Policies
a) Responsibility for review and suggested amendments is with the Council’s Development Director.
b) The procedure to amend these guidelines is as follows: The Development Director provides written recommendations to the Executive Director, who presents these recommendations to the Finance and Executive Committees of the Board of Directors.
F) Code of Conduct
Representatives of the Council exercise caution to avoid pressure, persuasion or undue influence and encourage donors to seek their own counsel when considering a planned gift option.
All personnel employed by the Council to contact prospective donors or to promote the planned gifts program are paid a salary or fixed wage, and not receive commissions which could give such personnel a direct beneficial interest in any agreement.
The Council recognizes that it is in a position of trust with the donor, and that the donor has placed trust in the organization concerning confidentiality. Therefore, all donor information, correspondence and governing instruments is kept in a secure place, which is accessible to individuals with approval of one of the following: the Executive Director, Director of Finance, or the Director of Development. It shall be known throughout the Council that this is confidential information.
H) Use of Constituent Lists
It is the organization’s policy not to sell its constituent lists to individuals or organizations interested in using it for fund raising.
I) Protection of Donor’s Interest
No program, agreement, trust, contract or commitment is knowingly urged upon any prospective donor that would benefit the Council at the expense of the donor’s interest and welfare. No agreement is made between the Council and any agency, person, company or organization on any matter related to investments, management or otherwise which knowingly jeopardizes the donor’s interest.
J) Use of Legal Counsel
A prospective donor is advised to seek legal or tax counsel of his/her attorney in any and all aspects of a proposed gift, whether by bequest, trust agreement, contract, or outright gift. They are advised to consult with their attorney or accountant on matters related to the tax implications and estate planning aspects of a planned gift agreement.
The Council consults with separate legal counsel in all matters pertaining to its planned giving program and consults counsel when executing agreements, contracts, trusts or legal documents. In no case is the Council’s attorney the attorney for the donor. Donors are advised to seek their own legal or tax counsel.
No legal fee is paid by the Council for the drafting of a will or other trust instruments on behalf of prospective donors even if the organization is to be named
as a beneficiary. No legal fee is paid by The Council for determining the marketability of any donated property, whether securities or real property. The Executive Committee must authorize any exemptions to this policy.
K) Gift Acknowledgement Policies
In addition to any other requirements of this policy, all gift acknowledgement communications with donors shall be conducted in accordance with all applicable laws and Internal Revenue Service Code.
L) Policy for Thanking Donors
In addition to processing all gifts and generating gift receipts, the Council will thank donors for their gifts in a timely manner. The Council has established internal procedures for thanking donors for their contribution including information on who signs the letter, and what type of acknowledgement letter is sent.