Gift Acceptance Policy
The teachings of Jesus and all of the Holy Scriptures promote stewardship as fundamental to our Christian faith. Our Judeo-Christian heritage leads to an understanding of stewardship as the responsible gratitude and relationship of trust for all of God’s many blessings. A faithful response to this mandate includes a commitment to the highest ideals of stewardship by all parties to charitable giving, including the donor as well as the recipient ministry. In order to ensure that such ideals are pursued for all gifts to be received whether as donee or trustee, the United Methodist Church Foundation (UMC Foundation) commits itself to the responsible administration of all prospective gifts. The UMC Foundation understands this commitment to include careful examination of the actual condition, use and benefits of the gift taking into consideration all legal, ethical and practical aspects. The UMC Foundation understands these considerations to be necessary steps toward the fulfillment of its own stewardship commitments, as well as those of the prospective donor. It is from this foundational understanding of stewardship, that the UMC Foundation adopts the following policy.
I. General Principles
The United Methodist Church Foundation seeks to support the mission of the United Methodist religious denomination and related organizations by developing financial resources and receiving and holding financial assets. This Gift Acceptance Policy is designed to facilitate the acceptance of gifts and the fulfillment of Disciplinary directives.
The following principles guide the acceptance and administration of gifts to the UMC Foundation:
- to work to make all gifts possible, within the strictures of law and tax regulations;
- to make resources available over time for the mission of The United Methodist Church, while upholding the purposes of the UMC Foundation;
- to honor the intent of the donor;
- to protect the assets entrusted to the UMC Foundation; and
- to accept only property free of liens and encumbrances
II. Vision and Values
Be an outstanding leader in organized philanthropy throughout the United Methodist Church, and operate efficiently and effectively in all aspects of operations. We will:
- Be a “teacher of philanthropy” that educates people and organizations and connects them to philanthropic opportunities;
- Provide donors, grantees and other relevant organizations with quality services (research, development, and administration) that meet their expectations, expand their understanding of community needs and opportunities, and earn the UMC Foundation a widely-recognized reputation for excellence and credibility;
- Serve as a trusted steward of donors’ charitable intentions;
- Preserve, manage, and grow financial assets to provide a competitive return that benefits the denomination;
- Help to identify the denomination’s critical needs and shape initiatives to address them;
- Initiate efforts to build collaborations and partnerships with other Church philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, the public sector and business;
- Convene diverse individuals and groups to work together to address a range of denominational needs;
- Leverage national resources to address the Church’s challenges and opportunities;
- Create and maintain a challenging, rewarding and high-performing organizational environment where staff, board members, volunteers, and organizational partners are valued and share a deep sense of mission;
- Bring together and challenge a board of directors, which reflects the diversities of the denomination, to use their resources to guide and contribute to the organization.
III. Terms and Definitions
For purposes of this policy, terms are defined as follows:
The United Methodist Organizations: Bodies within the organizational structure of the United Methodist denomination including local churches, districts, annual conferences, the General Conference, the general agencies, the Council of Bishops and organizations affiliated with such bodies.
Related Organizations: Organizations related to the United Methodist denomination by historical or governance ties, or by the Book of Discipline.
GARC: The Gift Acceptance Review Committee of the UMC Foundation, shall consist of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors will serve to initially receive and process gifts.
Tax Exempt: Exempt from federal income taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or other applicable section of such Code.
A. Within the guidelines set forth below, the UMC Foundation is authorized to accept gifts from individuals, estates, and organizations:
- On behalf of The United Methodist Church, GCFA General Agencies and as set forth in the Book of Discipline;
- To establish or expand permanent funds and endowments;
- To be received and paid out by GCFA to qualified United Methodist charitable organizations or other proper charities;
- As directed by this Gift Acceptance Policy.
B. These gifts may take the form of:
- Cash and checks. The Foundation may accept outright cash gifts in any amount. Gifts made to an endowment of the Foundation must meet the minimum funding requirements set by the Board. A donor may establish a fund in a single transaction, or agree to build the principle over a period of time mutually acceptable to the donor and the Foundation.
- Marketable and closely-held or thinly traded securities. The Foundation may accept gifts of publicly-traded stocks and bonds at fair market values as determined under Internal Revenue Service rules. Gifts of publicly-traded securities will generally be sold as soon as possible, and the fund the donor established will be credited with the proceeds from the sale, after commissions and expenses, if any.
- Real estate and interests in real estate. See Exhibit A to this Policy are Real Estate Procedures
- Tangible personal property. Tangible personal property may be accepted as a gift, provided that (i) such property is saleable and (ii) the donor agrees that the property can be sold at UMC Foundation’s discretion. The donor is responsible for obtaining a qualified appraisal prior to completing the gift.
- Life Insurance Policies. The Foundation may accept gifts of life insurance policies, provided that GCF and the donor reach a prior written agreement about arrangements for the payment of any required premiums.
C. Any charitable beneficiary organization must, at all times while the gift is administered, be qualified as tax-exempt, and must have a mission that is consistent with The United Methodist Church Social Principles. The purpose of the gift must be consistent with the theological beliefs of The United Methodist Church.
V. Gifts and Acceptance
GARC is authorized to accept gifts for the benefit of The United Methodist Foundation subject to this policy and related procedures. Gifts of monies, stocks, bonds and other marketable securities are to be received by the UMC Foundation through GARC and notifications of such gifts will be made to the Development and Planned Giving Ministry Group. If any concerns, conditions or restrictions exist that may raise a question about the advisability of acceptance, the GARC, or subcommittee thereof, shall be authorized to review and act. Attached as Exhibit A to this Policy are Real Estate Procedures. This set of procedures, and any other procedures as shall be adopted from time to time, shall be used to govern the acceptance of gifts. When an exception to such procedures is requested, acceptance will be evaluated by the GARC, or a subcommittee thereof, and reported to the Development and Planned Giving Ministry Group at its next regularly scheduled committee meeting. The GARC is directed in most instances, absent donor direction or other good reason, to convert donations into cash and to allow the Foundation invest the proceeds or otherwise as it deems appropriate.
VI. Records and Reporting
Accounting records will conform to the requirements of generally accepted accounting principles, as recommended by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and GCFA’s external auditors. Supporting documents will be filed with the Internal Revenue Service and other regulatory bodies as required or appropriate for each gift or asset accepted.
VII. Commitment to Donor Directions
It is the intention and commitment to comply with the legal intent and directions of donors. In the event that the UMC Foundation is unable to comply with such wishes and directions, the Foundation will transfer the assets to assure compliance with such wishes and directions. The UMC Foundation shall develop procedures, consistent with applicable law, for determination of alternate uses which will comply, as fully as reasonably possible, with the original wishes and directions of donors where precise compliance is impossible because:
- compliance has become illegal;
- the charitable beneficiary is unwilling or unable to use the funds as directed; or
- the charitable beneficiary has ceased to exist, to qualify as tax exempt, or to provide the designated service.
VIII. Donor Relations & Ethics
UMC Foundation representatives will urge prospective donors to have the terms of proposed gifts reviewed by legal and financial advisers to give added assurance that the donor’s interests are protected. It shall be the presumption that a donor, or their authorized representatives permit public announcement of any features of a gift. If a donor indicates a desire for anonymity or confidentiality, such requests should be made in writing and the Foundation will hold all gift and investment information in confidence. The UMC Foundation will make its complete files available on request, as required by law, and to its own auditors. The Foundation is not obligated to inform the donor of such requests. All other requests for information will be honored only if the donor, or their authorized representatives approve, in writing, the release of information, or if a court has issued an order to the UMC Foundation to that effect.
IX. Fees and Services
It is the intent of the UMC Foundation to fulfill its Disciplinary directives without addition of acceptance fees or costs. However, in the case of real property the attached UMC Foundation Real Property Procedures may establish a schedule of fees and costs. Additionally, UMC Foundation reserves the right to obtain consent of the GARC to approve unusual or extraordinary expenses related to the acceptance of a gift.
X. Appendix: A Donor Bill of Rights
PHILANTHROPY is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes that they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights.
- To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
- To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
- To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
- To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
- To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
- To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
- To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
- To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
- To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
- To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF FUND RAISING COUNSEL (AAFRC)
ASSOCIATION FOR HEALTHCARE PHILANTHROPY (AHP)
COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF
ASSOCIATION OF FUNDRAISING PROFESSIONALS (AFP) UNITED WAY OF AMERICA
NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON PLANNED GIVING (NCPG)
NATIONAL CATHOLIC DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE (NCDC)
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT (NCRD)