Fundraising Policies: Gift Acceptance, Ethics, and Tainted Money

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Should your nonprofit accept every gift that comes its way? It's hard to say no thank you! to donors, but sometimes...that's the more prudent path.

There are some kinds of gifts that your nonprofit simply may not want to - or should not – accept with some gifts resulting in more hassle and expense than benefit. This is where a well-considered "gift acceptance policy" can be of help. 

A written gift acceptance policy can help manage the expectations of donors and serve as guidance for board and staff members who are either on the asking or receiving end of contributions. The most significant reasons to adopt a gift acceptance policy include: 

  • Accepting some types of gifts may run counter to the nonprofit's values - so a gift acceptance policy can be useful to underscore why the nonprofit cannot accept the gift. 

  • Some gifts may lead to legal obligations that the nonprofit is not otherwise ready to handle. Example: Gifts of real property may raise property tax issues; gifts of motor vehicles or boats may raise issues about disposal of hazardous waste or licensing issues. 

  • The nonprofit may simply not be equipped to either use or dispose of certain types of gifts (such as donations of outdated computers) or easily maintain. (Imagine receiving a gift of a race horse!)  

  • Having a gift acceptance policy in place is considered a "best practice" from multiple perspectives - whether relating to relationships with donors, or managing the nonprofit's own risks. 

  • The IRS Form 990 asks whether a nonprofit has a “gift acceptance policy” and requires nonprofits that respond “Yes” to complete Schedule M, as well as report any non-cash contributions/in-kind gifts. 

Why Attend  

You never know when an unusual gift will arrive. Having a written policy that is adopted by the board will help expedite a process that otherwise might be delayed, and provides volunteers and staff with a consistent way to handle unanticipated and unusual situations. A policy also de-personalizes the situation for staff members on the front-line of receiving an unusual gift who may be in the awkward position of explaining to a donor that the nonprofit will not automatically accept the donor's gift. 

Who Should Attend?  

Executive Directors, CEO’s, Board Chairs/Presidents, CFO’s, Development Staff, Administrators 

About Our Speaker  

David Driggs
Mighty Penguin, Inc.

David has more than thirty-five years of experience in non-profit and small business development and management. He is President of Mighty Penguin Inc., established in 2010 to help organizations create sustainable operations and achieve their goals. His expertise includes comprehensive campaign management, human resources, marketing, development systems, volunteer board liaison, budget, and staff management. David's experience encompasses a myriad of fundraising programs, such as planned giving, proposal development, corporation and foundation relations, annual fund, special events, research, communications, social networking and regional development.

David was the Associate Vice President for University Advancement at Utah State University, where he played a key role in planning and implementing the university's first comprehensive campaign, which raised over $500 million. At USU he managed the front line professional development staff, leading them to record numbers in dollars raised, new donors, and levels of personal contact with alumni and friends. Prior to USU, David was the Director of Major Gifts at the University of Utah, closely involved in two major comprehensive campaigns. He also served for five years as the Director of Development for Pioneer Theatre Company, a fully professional regional theatre housed at the University of Utah. David spent the first seven years of his professional development career in New York City, at the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America.

David has been active in his community, serving on many boards, including the Granite District Community Council, Foundation for Change, University of Utah College of Fine Arts, and Leadership Utah. He is an adjunct professor at Westminster College, teaching in the Master of Arts in Community Leadership program. He has conducted workshops and training programs throughout the region. He and wife Mary are parents of six children.


FREE for UNA Members/$10 for Not-Yet-Members


January 18th, 2022 10:00 AM through 11:00 AM
Event Fee(s) - UNA Members: Please log in above to see member discount
Registration Fee $10.00