A board-adopted gift acceptance policy is one of the most important aspects of any major gifts program, according to Laura Fredricks, author of “The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for any Purpose.”
Regardless of the size of your organization, Fredericks insists that a gift acceptance policy is a must. “It never ceases to amaze me how many organizations do not have gift acceptance policies,” she wrote.
Fredericks offers 10 reasons why a gift acceptance policy is vital:
- Prevents misunderstandings between donor and prospect;
- Ensures equal treatment of donors;
- Makes the organization more accountable, internally and externally;
- Fosters sound fiscal management;
- Establishes gift levels and gift recognition for each level;
- Serves to protect the organization’s charitable status;
- Helps the organization avoid public relations disasters;
- Educates the board and committee members on major gift fundraising;
- Helps the organization adapt to changing times, through the regular recommendations of the gift acceptance committee; and,
- Makes everyone aware of gift guidelines.
Whether a policy has to be simple or complex, a board should establish a gift acceptance committee to draft a policy and then keep it up to date through an annual review.
Fredericks points to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Resource Center (www.afpnet.org or 800-666-FUND) as a place to find good examples of gift acceptance policies. “This is a good way to get a look at a gift acceptance policy designed for a group that mirrors the size and mission of your organization.”