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Gift Acceptance Policy

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Board Approved – 4.17.13



As a not-for-profit, 501 (c) 3 religious organization, this Church encourages the acceptance of gifts to further and fulfill its mission. Through spirited worship and open-minded religious exploration, the Church’s mission is to inspire people to live caring lives of meaning and purpose. We seek to encourage curiosity, strive to create peace and justice, and care for the living Earth with reverence and gratitude.

I. Purpose. This policy summarizes the policy of the Board of Trustees of the Church concerning acceptance of charitable gifts and provides guidance to donors and their advisors when making gifts to the Church. All staff and committees authorized to solicit and accept gifts will adopt appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

II. Responsibility to Donors.

A. The Church, its staff and volunteer representatives shall endeavor to assist donors in accomplishing their philanthropic objectives in a donor-centered way.

B. All transactions between a donor and the Church shall be held in
confidence, and may be disclosed publicly only with the permission of the
donor or her /his designee.

C. Any donor(s) requesting anonymity shall be given such, and reasonable procedures to safeguard such shall be implemented.

D. The  Church is committed to the highest ethical standards as set forth by the UUA and professional fundraising groups.

  III. Legal Considerations

A. Compliance: The Church shall comply with all local, state and federal laws and regulations concerning all charitable gifts it encourages, solicits or accepts. All required disclosures, registrations and procedures shall be made and/or followed in a thorough and timely manner.

B.  Endorsement of Providers: The Church shall not endorse legal, tax or financial advisors to prospective donors.

C. Finder’s Fees and Commissions: The Church shall not pay fees to any person as consideration for directing a gift by a donor to the Church.

D. Legal, Tax and Financial Advice: The Church shall inform prospective donors that it does not provide, legal, tax or financial advice, and shall encourage prospective donors to discuss all charitable gift planning decisions with their own advisors before entering into any commitments to gifts to the Church.

E.  Preparation of Legal Documents: The Church shall not prepare legal documents for execution by donors, except forms to create charitable gift annuities. The Church may provide model language, such as sample bequest language, gift agreements or charitable remainder trusts, but shall strongly encourage prospective donors to have this language reviewed by their own counsel.

F. Payment of Fees : It will be the responsibility of the donor to secure an appraisal (where required) and to pay for the advice of independent legal, financial or other professional advisers as needed for all gifts made to the Church.

G. Service as Executor or Living Trust Trustee: Unless approved in advance by the Trustees, the Church will not agree to serve as executor of a decedent’s estate or as trustee of a living trust or other trust intended to serve as a person’s primary estate planning document.

H. Trusteeship: Normally the Church will not assume trusteeships.  In cases where the donor and/or her/his advisor believes the Church taking on a trusteeship is necessary, given the nature of a gift, the donor is asked to consult with the Office of Stewardship and Development of the Unitarian Universalist Association, who will then advise the Church.

I.  Use of Counsel: The Church shall seek the advice of legal counsel in matters relating to    the acceptance of gifts when appropriate. Review by counsel is recommended for gifts involving: closely held stock transfers that are subject to restrictions; gifts involving contracts, such as bargain sales; reformation of charitable trusts; and transactions involving potential conflicts of interest.

   IV. Gift Acceptance

A. Gift Acceptance is the fiduciary responsibility of the Board of Trustees.

B. Approval of Exceptions. Acceptance of gifts outside the scope of this policy requires the approval of the Board of Trustees and must be recorded in Board minutes.

1. Unrestricted Commitments Within a Fiscal Year: The Church does not require statements of intent for unrestricted gift commitments within the current fiscal year.

  • Unrestricted Commitments Covering More Than One Fiscal Year. If the unrestricted
    commitment shall cover more than one fiscal year, a simple letter or card documenting the gift amount and payment schedule may be substituted for a formal statement of intent.
  • Commitments Subject to Restrictions: The Church requires an executed statement of intent for all commitments subject to restrictions, including restricted endowment gifts.
  • Commitments Over $1,000,000: The Church requires an executed binding gift agreement (pledge) for all commitments over $1,000,000, unless waived in writing by the Board of Trustees.

V. Gift Restrictions.

A. Unrestricted Gifts. To provide the Church with maximum flexibility in the pursuit of its mission, donors shall always be encouraged to consider unrestricted gifts. The Church reserves the right to decline gifts which are too restrictive in purpose, too difficult to administer, or for purposes outside of its mission.

B. Unrestricted future gifts. As donors making large future gifts generally intend for these gifts to benefit the long-term future of the Church, all future gifts (bequests, retirement plan and life insurance designations, etc.) with a value over ten percent (10%) of the current annual Church budget shall be added to the Church’s Unrestricted Endowment.

C. Gift acceptance procedures. The Treasurer, working with a donor, determines if a significant gift is in best interests of the church as an endowment, a capital campaign contribution, an operating fund gift, or a combination of these. If it is determined that the gift will be most beneficial solely as an endowment, capital, or operating campaign gift, the details are worked out with the appropriate committee, which will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. If the gift is most beneficial as a combination of these types of gifts, the Treasurer and Finance Committee work out the specifics of the gift, and make a recommendation for the Treasurer to present to the Board.

1. Prospective donors are encouraged to take advantage of the services provided by the UUA Office of Stewardship and Development, particularly when considering future gifts subject to a payment interest (see Section VIII, A below).

D. Gift agreements. The Church generally uses non-binding statements of intent to   document gift commitments. The Finance Committee shall create and maintain samples for use by staff and volunteer leadership. All statements of intent may include a short profile of the donor, the donor’s commitment and time frame for payments, the Church’s commitment (including restrictions), how the completed gift will be managed, alternative  use and saving language, stewardship, and donor recognition.

VI. Types of Property. These assets may be considered for acceptance by the Church, subject to the following criteria:

A Cash: Acceptable in any negotiable form, including currency, check and credit card gifts.

B. Securities:

  1. Publicly Traded Securities: Stocks, bonds and mutual funds traded on an exchange or other publicly reported market are acceptable.
  2. Closely Held Securities and Business Interests: Debt and equity positions in non-publicly traded businesses, hedge funds, REITs, interests in limited liability companies and partnerships may only be accepted upon prior written approval of the Board of Trustees after review in accordance with the Gift Acceptance Procedures.
  3. Options and Other Rights in Securities: Warrants, stock options and stock appreciation rights may only be accepted upon prior written approval of the Trustees.
  4. Life Insurance: The Church will accept a gift of life insurance provided that the policy has a net positive cash surrender value and the Church has been named as both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of the policy.

D.  Real Property: Personal and commercial real property, real estate interests/derivatives, and remainder interests in property (gifts subject to a retained life estate) may only be accepted upon prior written approval of the Trustees after review in accordance with the Gift Acceptance Procedures, including appropriate environmental screenings. The Church does not accept debt- encumbered real property, real property subject to a mortgage or lien or time share interests. For gifts subject to a retained life estate, the donor or primary life beneficiary shall be responsible for all expenses other than capital expenditures during the life tenancy, including but not limited to maintenance, real estate taxes, assessments and insurance.

E.  Tangible Personal Property: Jewelry, books, works of art, collections, equipment and other property which may be touched, may only be accepted after review in accordance with the Gift Acceptance Procedures.

F.  Other Property: Property not otherwise described in this section, whether real or personal, of any description (including but not limited to mortgages, notes, contract rights, copyrights, patents, trademarks, mineral rights, oil and gas interests and royalties) may be only be accepted upon prior approval of the Trustees.

VII. Structured Current Gifts

A. Charitable Lead Trusts: The Church may accept a designation as income beneficiary of a charitable lead trust. The Church will not serve as trustee of a charitable lead trust.

B. IRA Charitable Rollover: The Church may accept all gifts directly transferred from an IRA, as permitted under the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and subsequent extensions.

C. Matching Gifts: The Church will accept all matching gifts, subject to the terms and conditions of Section VI.

D. Other Structured Current Gifts: The Church may only accept other structured current gifts with prior written approval of the Trustees after review in accordance with the Gift Acceptance Procedures.

VIII. Future Gifts

A. Future Gifts Subject to a Payment Interest

1.Charitable Gift Annuities, Charitable Remainder Trusts, and Pooled Income Funds.  When considering gifts of this type the donor is asked to consult the Unitarian Universalist Association Office of Stewardship and Development.  This Office can advise both the donor and the Church.

2.  Costs charged to a trust.  Investment management, administration, legal counsel and tax return preparation costs are chargeable to a trust managed by the UUA or the Church.

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts When the Church Does Not Serve as Trustee: The Church will accept designation as charitable beneficiary of charitable remainder trusts that do not name the Church as trustee. Donors who create externally managed and trusteed trusts will be asked to provide the Church with a copy of the trust document and annual investment reports for record-keeping purposes.

B. Future Gifts Not Subject to a Payment Interest

  1. Gifts by Will or Living Trust: Donors and supporters of the Church will be encouraged to designate the Church as a beneficiary of their wills or living trusts.
  2. Retirement Plan, Life Insurance and Other Beneficiary Designations:  Donors and supporters of the Church will be encouraged to designate the Church as beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of their retirement plans, life insurance policies and other accounts on which they can name a beneficiary.

IX. Donor Recognition.

A. General: The Board of Trustees, upon recommendation of the Ministerial Executive Team and/or the Finance Committee, shall establish criteria for the recognition, honoring and stewarding of donors.

B. Buildings, Facilities, Special Rooms, etc.: Except in the case of naming opportunities that appear on a schedule approved by the Board of Trustees, the Church shall make no commitments to donors concerning the naming of buildings, building components, or facilities without the approval of the Board of Trustees.

X. Reporting and Valuation Standards.

A.  Gift Reporting and Counting: For outright gifts, the Church shall follow the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Reporting Standards and Management Guidelines for Educational Institutions, current edition. For future gifts, the Church shall follow the PPPGuidelines for Reporting and Counting Charitable Gifts” f counting guidelines (20091.pdf, current edition. All exceptions to these standards shall be made by the Board of Trustees.

  • Gift Valuation: The Church shall follow the “PPP Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts” ( valuation standards.pdf, All exceptions to these standards shall be made by the Board of Trustees.

XI. Periodic Review.

A. Regular Review: the Finance Committee shall review this policy in even numbered years to ensure that it continues to accurately describe the policies of the Church with respect to the acceptance of charitable gifts, and shall propose to the Board of Trustees for approval those revisions that the Finance Committee shall determine to be necessary or appropriate.

B. Special Review: the Finance Committee shall initiate a supplemental review of this policy upon the enactment or promulgation of legislation or regulatory rules affecting fundraising and gift acceptance by the Church. All proposed changes shall be shared with the Board of Trustees for ratification. 


Finance Committee {for legal review) December 3, 2012
Finance Committee (for transmittal to Board)   April 14, 2013

Board of Trustees approved April 17, 2013

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